January 28, 2016

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE expands investigation into 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. Based on reports of illness from attendees, KDHE is now expanding the investigation. KDHE would like all persons, those that became ill and those that did NOT become ill, who attended performances since Friday, Jan. 15 to fill out our secure, confidential online survey available at KDHE is still investigating the source of the illness.

So far during KDHE’s investigation, more than 390 individuals have reported illness and attended the New Theatre Restaurant from Friday, Jan. 15 to present. Four people who became ill have laboratory specimens that confirmed norovirus.

Norovirus is different from influenza and is very contagious. Norovirus 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. Norovirus is spread person to person (having contact with someone who is infected with norovirus), through contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. Norovirus is not spread through the air through coughing, sneezing or talking. 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.

Individuals who may have attempted to fill out the survey before KDHE expanded its investigation to include these additional dates are asked to go online again to fill out the current survey which includes additional attendance dates. Personal information provided to KDHE will be held confidential, and this information is protected by state law. 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.