Lab testing has confirmed that norovirus was the cause of many complaints from individuals who ate at the Jalapenos Mexican Grill earlier in July.
The Coastal Health District launched their investigation on Thursday, July 5, when they were first alerted to complaints of gastrointestinal illness.
Five days later, the health department told News 3 that based on information obtained in the investigation, the cause of the illness was likely norovirus. It’s a common but very contagious virus.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), the virus can be caught from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces.
Symptoms of norovirus can include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, fever, headache and body aches.
To determine the cause, environmental health specialists conducted environmental assessments at the restaurant and, with the help of the Coastal Health District epidemiology team, interviewed several patrons who complained of an illness.
Laboratory testing has confirmed norovirus was, in fact, the cause.
Amid the complaints, Jalapenos has temporarily shut down their location on Morgan’s Corner.
The restaurant is working with Chatham County Environmental Health to ensure that the restaurant is taking appropriate steps, like educating staff on safe food handling practices and food service equipment cleaning, to prevent this from happening in the future.
Additional information on how norovirus can be prevented is available online here.