Health Dept: Norovirus confirmed after visits to Walt’s Pub

Walt's Pub Sign

At least 31 people reported getting sick after making a trip to a newly-opened restaurant in West Lafayette, according to the Tippecanoe County Health Department. The health department confirmed Norovirus was discovered in stool samples taken from customers who ate at Walt's Pub and Grill.

Posted: Jan 9, 2018 12:58 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2018 4:19 PM

UPDATE: The Health Department said it (norovirus) is classified as a foodborne illness. The Department confirmed two cases in people who submitted stool samples. One was a customer, the other was an employee of Walt's Pub. Craig Rich with the Health Department said the employee would be considered "patient zero," the primary case of norovirus.

"Norovirus is most commonly known as the stomach bug, and by definition can be contracted through a lot of different human interaction, it's always unfortunate when anybody experiences any kind of illness but a thorough inspection was done by the Tippecanoe County Health Department on this matter and deemed us a safe place to dine! As far (as) direct reply to the findings, it is our understanding that just as passing the stomach bug from one person to a group it's just as easy for one person within a group to pass it to the rest of the group and with the stomach bug being passed around a lot this season it's really hard to ever know who passed it to who, when or where! Again Walt's always does and always will hold the quality of our service and product to a high standard and thank its patrons for its constant support." – owners, Walt's Pub & Grill

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — At least 31 people reported getting sick after making a trip to a newly-opened restaurant in West Lafayette. The Tippecanoe County Health Department confirmed Norovirus was discovered in stool samples taken from customers who ate at Walt's Pub and Grill in mid-December.

The restaurant opened in November on the corner of Yeager and Kalberer Roads. 

According to Mayo Clinic, Norovirus "stomach bug" is a highly contagious virus that can be transmitted by eating contaminated food or drink. It often occurs in places with people in close contact such as child care centers, schools and cruise ships. 

The Health Department said it is classified as a foodborne illness. The Department confirmed two cases in people who submitted stool samples. One was a customer, the other was an employee of Walt's Pub. Rich said the employee would be considered "patient zero," the primary case of norovirus.

News 18 has learned at least 31 people reported being ill to the Health Department, according to a release from the agency on Tuesday.

News 18 met individually with four women who ate at Walt's Pub and Grill for lunch on Dec. 19. They were part of a group of 17 people. While they didn't want to go on camera, they did want to explain their symptoms.

They explained 10 of the 17 people in their group got sick between 24 and 30 hours after eating at Walt's. Another group from their company also ate lunch at Walt's that day. According to the women, five of the 13 of them came down ill.

From the women's group, two people submitted stool samples and one person submitted a food sample to the Health Department. The women said the Health Department came back to them with results on Dec. 23, and said the stool samples tested positive for Norovirus. 

The women said they contacted Walt's and the Health Department.

News 18 reached out to owner Walt Foster. He said his restaurant is in 100 percent compliance with the Health Department. He went on to say the Health Department had been to his restaurant to conduct a four-hour inspection the day after the complaints. Foster said the Health Department told him at that time, no food poisoning had been found.

Since its opening, the restaurant's parking lot has been packed nearly every night. It was much anticipated due to West Lafayette's lack of sit-down restaurants on the north side. Mayor John Dennis told News 18 in October the city is trying to "spread the wealth" of sit-down restaurants on West Lafayette's south side near Purdue University's campus, up to the north side near Sagamore Parkway.

Mayor John Dennis said Walt's Pub, Walt Foster's second location, was the "pioneer" of the movement. 

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