Stomach bug circulating Harford County

BEL AIR, Md. - The stomach bug is creeping around Harford County.  Calls keep coming into the health department.

Harford County Health Department spokesman Bill Wiseman says dozens of samples have been taken from people with similar complaints over the past week.  The state health department will help determine if the bug started from food at a restaurant, as many have speculated, or if it's basic contact with a person who's infected with a virus. 

Wiseman says it's a common time of year for the stomach bug, but this time many people who are complaining say they had eaten at a restaurant.

"An inspector was sent out to these restaurant facilities to check on the facilities right away upon reports of people who got sick there, and there was nothing remarkable at the time to mention," said Wiseman. 

ABC2 News has received many complaints about people getting sick following a visit to Outback Steakhouse in Bel Air.  Their corporate offices got back to us:  "The health and safety of our employees and customers is our top priority. We have worked closely with Harford County Health Department to ensure our high food safety standards are practiced each and every day.  As a precaution, on Friday, we took additional thorough cleaning measures following reports of illness," said Elizabeth Watts, Director of Media & Community Relations, Bloomin’ Brands, Inc.

The health department will not name the restaurants unless a sample comes back and calls them into question.  Those results are expected back later this week. 

Dr. Paul Wu, of Patient First, says there’s been an increase in the number of people reporting symptoms of the stomach bug. 

"They got achiness.  They get throw-up, severe vomiting, and sometime diarrhea," said Wu. 

Wu says it’s tough to pinpoint the source of an illness.  However, the best advice he passes along is one you've heard before:  wash your hands often.

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