Norovirus to blame for 175 reported illnesses at JBGB

Outdoor area at JBGB / Courtesy

A Fayetteville restaurant is temporarily closed after claims of sickness by customers at the establishment.

Arkansas Department of Health officials say norovirus is to blame for the cluster of illnesses reported recently at JBGB, a restaurant and brewery located in north Fayetteville.

“We are still in contact with people that are reporting illness, but we have received testing today to confirm the norovirus,” said Meg Miravel, the department’s public information officer.

Miravel said the department has so far received 175 reports of being sick that are believed to be associated with the restaurant beginning as early as Sept. 13.

Miravel said that norovirus is usually spread from person-to-person, and is not typically associated with a problem with food preparation practices.

According to the Center for Disease Control, norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach or intestines resulting in diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. Symptoms usually appear within 12 to 48 hours of being exposed to norovirus, and most people with the illness recover within 1 to 3 days.

JBGB agreed to voluntarily close on Wednesday (Sept. 26) to clean and disinfect the restaurant, and the company plans to reopen on Thursday (Sept. 27).

Restaurant vice president Matt Hamm issued the following statement:

The Department of Health notified JBGB this afternoon that all of our customers’ illnesses were caused by a norovirus or “stomach bug” that was introduced to the restaurant by an individual and not through any improper handling or preparation of the food that we served our customers. The Department has determined that JBGB did not commit any health or food safety violation in connection with the norovirus symptoms experienced by our customers. We continue, however, to take the appropriate remedial measure of disinfecting the entire restaurant to ensure total elimination of any norovirus agents that may still be present on site. JBGB will be open tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. and has informed the Health Department of our re-opening as well as our remedial efforts taken today. We are pleased to get this matter behind us and look forward to seeing everyone soon!