SACRAMENTO - Three people tested positive and 17 more were exposed in a possible norovirus outbreak at a prominent Sacramento restaurant, according to the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services.
The findings come on the heels of an investigation centering on diners and employees who ate or worked at Mulvaney's Restaurant between Feb. 23 and Feb. 26.
According to the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services, Mulvaney's received a green placard after passing a health inspection on Feb. 13. Following that inspection, the health department received a complaint from an unidentified source and performed a follow-up inspection.
After the reinspection, two employees and one customer were confirmed to have tested positive, and 17 people exposed to the virus were being tested, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
On Wednesday, Sacramento County Public Health spokesperson Laura McCasland said the additional 17 people linked to the outbreak were "assumed" to have contracted the virus due to the fact the other three had tested positive.
Mulvaney's chef Mark Mayo said reports of a possible norovirus outbreak haven't put a dent in the restaurant's reservations, and a Wednesday lunch crowd seemed typical for a rainy day.
"In seven years of being open, it's the first time this has happened, so we'd like to think that's a very isolated case," Mayo said.
Sacramento County health officials said the restaurant contacted them when they started to hear complaints of symptoms.
"Mulvaney's has been very forthcoming and gave us all the information we needed, and they are cooperating fully with us, and we did not see any need to shut the restaurant down," public health officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said.
No one has died or had to be hospitalized from any of the cases. If the restaurant is confirmed as the source, it could face further review.
Norovirus sickens 21 million Americans and kills 800 more annually, per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Highly contagious, it can be transmitted via contaminated food or surfaces, as well as by personal contact. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and nausea.
The virus can live in the body for as long as three weeks once the symptoms have passed.