Norovirus Could Be Responsible For Illnesses Linked To JBGB, Health Department Says

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — The health department thinks a stomach bug could've infected more than 100 people who ate at JJ's Beer Garden and Brewery earlier this month.

The Arkansas Department of Health has received 101 complaints of illnesses, with most people reporting diarrhea, vomiting and some fever, according to Meg Mirivel, a health department spokeswoman.

JJ's releaesd a statement late Tuesday (Sept. 25) saying "nothing seems to indicate there was any mishandling of food or other violation of health regulations by JBGB that would have caused our customers’ symptoms."

"We very much hope to have the answer to share soon. In the meantime, all of us at JBGB will keep the affected customers in our thoughts and prayers as we search for a definitive answer."

Most customers said they started to feel ill 24 to 36 hours after visiting the restaurant, so sick that some had to go to the doctor.

Anyone who visited JBGB between Sept. 13 and Monday (Sept. 24), and has experienced diarrhea or vomiting, should contact the health department at adh.foodsafe@arkansas.gov or 501-537-8969.

Health officials are still collecting clinical samples for testing to confirm what's making people sick.

“The day I became sick I knew something was up I went to the doctor and they ran some tests and all they could tell really was there was a lot of bacteria in my body and they prescribed an antibiotic but my symptoms continued for the next 2-3 days,” said Alex Adams, a junior at the University of Arkansas.

One woman who ate at JBGB's during the reported outbreak says the sickness landed her in the emergency room.

"(I) felt fine Thursday night, felt fine Friday, I woke up Saturday and just got super nauseous and started throwing up," Ellie Garner told 5NEWS.

She says three of her co-workers she was with also got sick, and some of her family experienced the same symptoms after eating at the restaurant.

"My whole family went to JBGB as well for my brother-in-law's birthday, and I was sick obviously so I didn't go, but five of them got sick."

Garner says her 38-week pregnant sister was among them. She says she went to the doctor and is doing better, she has a few weeks until delivery.

"Our deepest concerns go out to the customers affected," said JJ's owner Jody Thornton.

"We have never had an experience like this and are confident the health department will determine we complied with all applicable laws and regulations."

The restaurant was last inspected in September 2017, according to health department records.

The inspector found only one critical violation: disposable paper towels weren't available for drying washed hands. The inspector noted that this was corrected on site.

Critical violations can cause illness if the problem is not fixed quickly, according to the health department.

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