Virus strikes patrons of London Wahaca Mexican restaurants

norovirus explainer Cohen orig_00003306
norovirus explainer Cohen orig_00003306

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Story highlights

  • Around 200 staff, 160 customers are affected by stomach bug
  • Wahaca was founded by former BBC "MasterChef" winner

(CNN)Mexican food chain Wahaca closed nine of its UK restaurants after the outbreak of a suspected stomach bug last week.

Over 200 staff and 160 members of the public reported coming down with norovirus, which causes diarrhea and vomiting, Public Health England said Thursday.
    Wahaca later reopened five outlets, carrying out "anti-viral deep cleaning" and ensuring ill staff members remained off-site for at least 48 hours.
    The outbreak reportedly centered on the restaurant chain's London branches. Wahaca has around 25 restaurants across the United Kingdom.
    "The situation remains under control and we continue to work with all local authorities to monitor this closely," Wahaca said.
    The company was now assessing whether to reopen four remaining venues and "get to the bottom of how this may have happened."
    "Currently, the source of the outbreak is not confirmed and this remains under investigation," said Public Health England.
    Owner Thomasina Miers pictured at a "Day of the Dead" festival in 2012. Wahaca canceled  this year's festival, due to the outbreak.
    Wahaca was founded by British cook Thomasina Miers, who shot to fame in 2005 after winning the BBC cooking show "MasterChef."

    What is norovirus?

    "Norovirus can be very unpleasant but is rarely serious," Public Health England said of the stomach bug. "Most people make a full recovery within one or two days, without treatment."
    "It is important that people with diarrhea and vomiting drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration."