Amigos Restaurant Blamed for Stomach Virus

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

May 10, 2005

When UVA students started to get sick, a health alert was emailed to them warning them to wash their hands because of a highly contagious virus going around the university.

But some responded to this by saying they knew the source of the virus. The source, they say, is Amigo's, a Mexican restaurant on the Corner District.

"They called and said they ate here, but they also ate at other places," said owner Rudy Padilla.

After some students pointed fingers at Amigo's as the culprit of the stomach bug, the health department investigated the Mexican restaurant. It was shut down for a day, but the owner says this was only to fix some equipment.

"The dishwasher had something loose and one of the refrigerators wasn't working properly and that's basically all they found," said Padilla.

That was all that was found wrong at Amigo's that day, but the investigation into what made so many people sick is still under way and only in its preliminary stages.

"They are looking at the data from food samples, stool cultures and also the data gathered from interviewing the sick and well people," said Eric Myers from the Health Department.

The restaurant handed over hundreds of customer receipts to aid in the investigation.

The health department says that no single restaurant is under investigation currently. The official report will not be released for about three weeks.

Amigo's has had several critical health violations over the years for incidents such as employees not washing their hands or employees drinking from an uncovered container in the kitchen area. However, after a look at other restaurant records, those violations are not that uncommon.

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