Probably Norovirus: At least 35 sickened at Michigan restaurant

Rachel Greco of the Lansing State Journal reports at least 35 people have reported getting sick after eating at downtown Grand Ledge restaurant The Log Jam in the last two weeks, according to public health officials.

The West Jefferson Street restaurant closed Monday, six days after the first eight illness complaints were reported to the health department on Nov. 22, said Abigail Lynch, a spokesperson for the Barry-Eaton County Health Department.

Those Log Jam customers reported eating there Nov. 19, she said.

Lynch said callers reported norovirus symptoms, which include diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps and vomiting. She said health department staff suspect a norovirus outbreak, but are awaiting test results to confirm it.

The Nov. 22 reports did not prompt the restaurant to close or for the health department to issue a public statement about the suspected outbreak, Lynch said, because the health department didn’t believe there was “an ongoing threat to public health.”

Lynch said department staff visited the restaurant Nov. 22, and staff there cleaned the interior of the eatery with bleach, threw out any prepared food and emphasized hand washing practices with employees.

Since Nov. 22 at least 27 additional reports of illness have been made by Log Jam customers to the health department, Lynch said. Most of those people reported eating at the restaurant Nov. 25 and reports were still coming in, she said. 

“Based on that, when we left on (Nov. 22) we felt we had put proper interventions in place to prevent further illness,” Lynch said. “This just happened to be one of those instances where it wasn’t.”

Lynch said the restaurant was closed Nov. 27 for another cleaning that was supervised by health department staff, and re-opened the next day. She said all of the restaurant’s prepared foods were thrown out and employees were informed again about the importance of hand washing.

A person who answered the phone at The Log Jam Wednesday morning declined to comment on the suspected outbreak and referred all questions to the health department. 

A Nov. 27 post on The Log Jam’s Facebook page reads, “It seems that there has been an outbreak of a viral gastroenteritis in the community. We have consulted with the health department and they confirmed that this very contagious virus has made some people very ill in our town…Since our water heater went up in flames, and we had to close for repairs, we took full advantage of our down time to disinfect every square inch of our facility.”