L’ Hostaria diners fall ill
August 21, 2006
Some 20 people became ill last week after dining at L’Hostaria, a popular Aspen restaurant.Preliminary tests have not determined the cause of the illnesses, which left patrons with stomach woes, vomiting and diarrhea. No one was hospitalized; most reported their symptoms to a physician and some went to the emergency room for fluid replacement. Owner Tiziano Gortan voluntarily closed the Hyman Avenue restaurant for intensive cleaning before reopening on Friday. There have been no additional cases since, but an investigation into the cause of the problem is ongoing.”We’re in the process of collecting samples for the state lab so they can pinpoint what is making them sick,” said C.J. Oliver, senior environmental health specialist for the city of Aspen. “Right now we don’t know what it is. When we find out we’ll be able to determine a course of action.”Oliver said at this point it appears only diners at L’Hostaria fell ill. “But we don’t know if it is a virus spread person to person, employee-based, food-based or from a sick patron,” he said. “We should know in a couple of days.”Samples collected Monday from those affected by the virus will reach the state lab today; all results are expected by Wednesday.”Whatever was wrong has been remedied,” Oliver said. “Somebody got sick on Tuesday or Wednesday and I called the health department right away.”Oliver said the restaurant has been “super helpful with proactive measures, all on a voluntary basis.” In addition to closing the restaurant for cleaning, Gortan threw out any food that was present when diners became ill. He has also followed up with many of the patrons who became ill. Two of whom, who asked not to be identified, were appreciative of L’Hostaria’s efforts to resolve the situation and said it could have happened anywhere.If the state lab can’t definitively identify the cause of the outbreak, the health department will continue to monitor the restaurant.”Everyone is either completely better or on the road to recovery,” said Oliver, urging anyone who becomes sick after eating at any restaurant in Aspen to contact the city’s Environmental Health Office at 920-5039.