Kansas confirms norovirus case related to Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings Shares Fall on Norovirus Case
Buffalo Wild Wings Shares Fall on Norovirus Case

(Reuters) - One positive case of norovirus related to an investigation at restaurant chain operator Buffalo Wild Wings Inc has been confirmed, the Kansas health department's Johnson County office said on Friday.

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Buffalo Wild Wings' shares fell as much as 13 percent to a 15-month low on Friday, before easing back to close down 8 percent at $142.08.

The investigation is related to a gastrointestinal illness that affected at least 10 people who ate at a Buffalo Wild Wings' restaurant in Overland Park in suburban Kansas City.

"These types of illness are common this time of year," Johnson County Department of Health and Environment Director Lougene Marsh said in a statement. (http://bit.ly/1PZUvOv)

Norovirus is the most common cause of food-borne disease outbreaks in the United States and infections usually occurs in places such as hospitals, cruise ships and universities, where people eat and live in close quarters.

There were no further reports of illnesses and additional results on the existing cases are pending lab confirmation, the department said.

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Buffalo Wild Wings, whose outlets are known for their chicken wings, said despite the one positive test, there was no confirmation that its Overland Park restaurant was the source.

The company voluntarily closed the restaurant for cleaning after it learnt of the illnesses and reopened it the next day after consulting the health department, a company spokesman said in an email.

"We are monitoring the situation and will continue to work closely with the health department until their investigation is complete," the spokesman said.

Last year, two norovirus outbreaks were reported at the Massachusetts and California outlets of popular burrito chain operator Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.

About 19 million to 21 million norovirus cases, with 570 to 800 related deaths are reported in the United States each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recent norovirus outbreaks:

(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik and Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

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