King County Public Health closes Pho Aroma temporarily after illness outbreak

ORIGINAL THURSDAY REPORT: Seattle-King County Public Health announced this afternoon that it has closed Pho Aroma (5605 Delridge Way SW) temporarily because of an illness outbreak. On Tuesday, the department said, it “learned of 3 ill persons from one meal party that became ill after consuming food and beverage from the restaurant on January 13.” While visiting the restaurant on January 17th, the report continues, “investigators identified 2 employees who experienced similar symptoms after the ill customers’ meal date of January 13.” The department’s report continues:

We do not have laboratory confirmation of the pathogen responsible for the illness, but symptoms are suggestive of norovirus. Often in norovirus outbreaks, no laboratory testing is done. The exact food or drink item that caused the illness has not been identified, though this is not uncommon for norovirus outbreaks where multiple food items may be contaminated.

The Health Department adds, “The restaurant is working cooperatively with Public Health; they closed on January 17 to allow time to complete a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of the restaurant.” Department staff will revisit the restaurant before clearing it to re-open. Full details on its investigation are here.

UPDATE: As noted in comment discussion below, the Public Health website notes that the restaurant reopened on January 19th.

28 Replies to "King County Public Health closes Pho Aroma temporarily after illness outbreak"

  • Rusty January 18, 2018 (6:26 pm)

    Sorry to hear this, as they are in my opinion the best pho in town. Hopefully they can get everything sanitized and be back up soon. I had norovirus last year, it’s no fun at all.

    • JanS January 18, 2018 (8:05 pm)

      Rusty, have had it, and I agree about the no fun….awful  disease, for sure :(

      • Tony January 25, 2018 (3:50 pm)

        I love pho aroma and in my heart I know they have no bad intentions apond  any1 . It’s the intention of the people pointing the finger is what makes me wonder.!!!! Hmmm

    • Dennis Eatman January 19, 2018 (7:33 am)

      Definite misfortune. I eat there often and will be first in line when they reopen. Sorry about the customers and employees who got sick

    • Bruce January 26, 2018 (6:46 pm)

      OMG! I cannot see Pho Aroma as a place that  neglects sanitation in anyway ,  I eat there often and the last time I was there I dropped 1 chopstick and the owner saw me and he didn’t even let me use it because it touched the ground and he insisted I grab another one immediately… now does this sound like a restaurant that would  want to harm to anyone ? No. Not to me. 

    • Raymon January 26, 2018 (9:10 pm)

      Check for haters.  Is usually one or two certain employee that blows it all for the business. Not the owners fault but check the haters and friendemys

  • AS January 18, 2018 (6:43 pm)

    Oh man, we got pho takeout from there two nights ago.  Will they be saying later what the food or issue was?  

    • Mike January 19, 2018 (7:11 am)

      To be on the safe side, you might want to just talk to your doctors office and let them know and ask if they suggest you do anything else.

    • Jason January 19, 2018 (3:14 pm)

      This could be norovirus and unrelated to the food. In fact it could have been brought into the restaurant by the customer.

      (That said it definitely could also be the food)

    • Tony January 25, 2018 (3:57 pm)

      I think the obvious issues is HATERS. What is there not to love about pho aroma .  I don’t know if you guys know they’re really good people I go to there almost every day these last couple years if you see how they decorate the holidays you know their heart have no bad intentions .. 

  • Deo January 18, 2018 (6:50 pm)

    I ate there on Monday and feel fine.   Given the timing described, with two employees experiencing symptoms  after the customers’  visit, and the fact that testing was not done for pathogens, I wonder if the visiting customers may have already been exposed to a virus from another source.   So many opportunities for exposure and, unfortunately, sharing viruses these days. Glad to hear precautions are being taken, as this is my favorite place for Pho as well as other great dishes they offer.

    • That's an Odd Take January 18, 2018 (8:12 pm)

      You’re alleging that the customers made the employees sick? That’s an odd take. Regardless, the county’s suggestion to sanitize the kitchen is smart in either case. It’s a shame that restaurants can’t handle this discreetly. I know the Pho Aroma people have earned their good reputation and haven’t had anything like this happen since they’ve been in business.

      • Lisa January 18, 2018 (8:34 pm)

        Where does it say the customers were the ones who made the employees sick?

      • Mike January 19, 2018 (7:14 am)

        Discreetly?  It’s not a common cold, it’s a deadly virus that spreads rapidly.  I love Pho Aroma, easily the best pho in Seattle and fantastic staff and ownership.  I appreciate their cooperation to get this resolved safely and ensure everyones health first and foremost.

        • newnative January 19, 2018 (8:46 am)

          Deo makes it clear that they are speculating, as the timing is odd. (I agree) Norovirus is just something you can’t handle any more discreetly than this. There is a very specific protocol in isolating and cleaning/sanitizing-regardless how the outbreak started. This isn’t necessarily from reckless behavior or poor working conditions. 

      • Jason January 19, 2018 (3:17 pm)

        One word “norovirus”. Customers could definitely have brought this into the business and it could be unrelated to the food. That spreads by contact (and probably touching your mouth or something that later goes in your mouth I believe)

  • Barbara January 18, 2018 (6:55 pm)

    We love Pho Aroma and are  so sorry to hear they have fallen victim to this virus.  My husband and sister- in- law contrated it on a family cruise.  The sanitation should take care of it and then we will be back to patronise a favorite restaurant!!

  • Tc January 18, 2018 (8:08 pm)

    Is there a way to contact king county health? My wife and I live around the block and her and her mother ate there on the 15th. My wife got sick and would like to report.

    • Marianne January 19, 2018 (5:33 am)

      Look them up and give them a call…

    • AG January 19, 2018 (7:45 am)

      WSB usually links their stories to relevant sites. Click on the link above to the health dept and on the menu there is a “report an issue” link (can’t remember exact verbiage.) Clicking on it will get you the below info:

      If you or others in your party got sick and you think it might have been from food prepared at a King County food service establishment, call 206-296-4774 during business hours (Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm) to report the illness. If this is a long distance call for you, you may also call toll-free at 1-800-325-6165, ext. 6-4774. When you call, please have the following information available:
      • Name and location of food establishment
      • Date and time of meal
      • Foods consumed
      • Symptoms of illness
      • Contact information for you and other members of your party, including those who did not get sick

      If more information is needed, a member of the Communicable Disease Epidemiology and Immunization Section may call you back to get more details about what you ate and drank and the symptoms you experienced.

      All information will be kept confidential. Your answers will help us determine if food served at the establishment is responsible for illness.

      Because foodborne illness reports contain protected health information, we regret that we cannot accept reports over the web or by e-mail at this time.

  • Phineas Crispin Fennell January 18, 2018 (8:50 pm)

    Well, that explains it. My wife and I ate there at the end of last week with our two toddlers. The kids were fine (thank goodness), but it was a rough weekend for the adults. The fact that the kids didn’t get sick makes me suspect the pho as the source. The kids shared a rice dish. We have always loved the food and the staff at that place.  I imagine that it will be the safest place to eat in the city after this misfortune. 

  • Steven January 19, 2018 (4:02 pm)

    My brother ate there sometime either friday or saturday and we both got sick earlier this week. Recovering now but that was the worst I’ve felt in a very long time. Glad they reacted quickly. 

  • Keith Mathewson January 19, 2018 (5:29 pm)

    A couple of points the  public may wish to keep in mind-

    The norovirus  is highly contagious and can take between 12 and 48 hours to develop symptoms and the person carrying the virus may not experience any symptoms themselves. The Health Dept responded to a complaint stating that all three people in the party contracted the virus while eating at Pho Aroma on January 13th and as is policy required the restaurant to shut down for deep cleaning. However January 13th is a Sunday and the restaurant is closed on Sundays. In addition it was stated that two employees had the virus. I own the commissary kitchen across the street and interact with staff and employees on a near daily bases. I am not aware of any member suffering an illness. While it may seem reasonable to blame the restaurant as the source it must be remembered that no testing was done for the virus and no blame has been attached to Pho Aroma. The fact that all three members of the party have the virus and a general outbreak has not occurred begs the question- did the three, I believe family members, have the virus prior to the complaint? 

    I eat there a couple of times a week, including the Saturday before and have not experienced any illness.

    • AmyB January 21, 2018 (8:45 pm)

      Keith, thanks for pointing this out. Norovirus can be tricky—it can be hard to find where it initially came from. And yes, it’s odd they said Sunday. My husband and I are big fans of Pho Aroma, IMHO best pho around (and other tasty dishes). I’m glad to know they’ve already reopened and also that they did the deep cleaning—just to be sure. For all of us who love this place, keep supporting them! Go eat some pho!

  • Trickycoolj January 19, 2018 (10:15 pm)

    Noro is so contagious. Sent one of my family members in Pierce county to the ER.  Nasty stuff, it’s probably among us in the WS community. Please stay home if you have stomach or intestinal distress and definitely keep the Purell handy after being in public places. 

  • Here2stay January 21, 2018 (8:02 pm)

    WS blog, do you know when is it expected to reopen?

Sorry, comment time is over.

WP-Backgrounds by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann