FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2016

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461


KDHE investigating norovirus illnesses in Overland Park

TOPEKA, Kan.—The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is working with the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment to investigate an outbreak of norovirus infection among individuals who became ill after attending the New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park, Kan. on Sunday, Jan. 17.

KDHE is conducting interviews of individuals who attended one of the two performances on that day and so far found more than 100 individuals who reported illness. KDHE has not had any reports of illness from individuals attending the theatre on any other day. Four people who became ill have laboratory specimens that confirmed norovirus. The New Theatre Restaurant has been fully cooperating with this investigation.

Norovirus is a very contagious virus. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain. A person develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed and most people get better within one to three days. The best way to prevent norovirus is proper handwashing.

Norovirus causes an estimated 19 to 21 million persons to become ill each year, and is more common in the winter months. Norovirus is spread from person to person, by touching contaminated surfaces, or through contaminated food or water. Persons who are ill with norovirus symptoms should not prepare food or care for other persons.

KDHE is still investigating the source of this norovirus outbreak. In order to determine the extent and cause of the outbreak, KDHE is conducting a secure, confidential online survey among all persons who attended either performance at the New Theatre Restaurant on Sunday, Jan. 17, including those who became ill and those who did not become ill. The online survey is available at http://tinyurl.com/newtheatre2016.  Personal information provided to KDHE will be held confidential, and this information is protected by state law. Please note that KDHE is limiting this survey only to persons who attended the New Theatre Restaurant on Sunday, Jan. 17; persons who have already participated in a telephone interview do NOT need to complete an online survey. Persons with questions or concerns regarding the outbreak may call the KDHE Epidemiology Hotline at 877-427-7317.