146 norovirus cases linked to Bob Chinn's

January 13, 2012 (WHEELING, Ill.)

Case investigations are ongoing, but at this time a source for the virus has not been identified.

Bob Chinn's, which bills itself as the nation's fourth busiest restaurant, reopened Wednesday afternoon, one day after it voluntarily closed its doors in the wake of several customers becoming sick.

"We worked with the [Cook County Department of] Public Health to clean and sanitize the restaurant," said Dan Erdman, a restaurant spokesman. "We've satisfied all of the requirements, and they've allowed us to reopen."

Amy Poore, a Public Health spokeswoman, confirmed Wednesday evening that 146 people with the gastrointestinal illness "have been linked to eating at Bob Chinn's restaurant."

Poore said her agency has received dozens of calls from people who said they became sick after eating at the restaurant, but that it's unclear at this point - because gastrointestinal illness is common this time of year - whether the eatery is the source of illness in all of those cases.

The restaurant closed voluntarily Tuesday morning after receiving complaints from some customers who said they'd become sick after eating at the restaurant, Poore said. Public Health investigators spent all day at the eatery Tuesday, but the agency isn't yet certain of the specific source of the sickness. The first person to become sick after eating at Bob Chinn's dined there Jan. 5, Poore said.

Poore said there is now no risk to the public.

Gastrointestinal illness symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, chills and fever.

Anyone with Bob Chinn's leftovers in their refrigerator should toss them in the trash, Poore said.

"If in doubt, throw it out," Poore said.

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