Watford’s 6-0 defeat in the FA Cup final may have been stomach-churning to many, but visitors of Walkabout bar felt ill on a new level after catching an unknown virus following the match.
Watford Borough Council (WBC) is investigating after the illness spread among visitors of the High Street bar, leaving some of them unwell for up to a week.
Following the Watford vs Man City FA Cup final on Saturday, May 18, Walkabout bar on the High Street had its doors open until the early hours of the morning.
But as the evening came to a close, many of the party goers began to fall ill, a fair few supposedly vomiting on the site before leaving.
Tilly Connors, 18, was there with eight of her friends before leaving at around 12am.
She said: “It was a really scary experience. I had quite a few drinks while at Walkabout – I wasn’t ill during the night out and because we left quite early and went to another bar, I didn’t see anyone ill.
“When I went to bed that night, I woke up at around 2:30am and I felt dreadful – I thought I was dreaming. I felt so sick and I went to the toilet and I was vomiting for ages, and I had the most awful stomach pain all through the night.
“The vomiting didn’t really end until the following night and I felt really ill all week with the stomach pain.”
It was only the day after her visit to Walkabout that Tilly realised she wasn’t the only one affected.
She said: “When I spoke to the group of girls I went with the next day, it turned out all of them were ill as well. Then I went onto Facebook and saw loads of people saying ‘Has anyone who went to Walkabout last night been ill?’
“I was so upset – I had the first day of my apprenticeship that Monday, but I obviously had to miss it, which made me look like an idiot. Luckily, they were understanding of the situation.”
WBC announced it was investigating the incident shortly after the night.
Councillor Karen Collett, portfolio holder for community, said: “We have had a number of people contact us in relation to this incident. Our Environmental Health Officers and Public Health England do not think it is food poisoning but we are still waiting for test results to confirm the cause. We are not expecting any new cases and are currently advising people how to manage symptoms and prevent anyone else being affected. The council is working with Walkabout, which has now reopened following a comprehensive deep clean, to ensure there is no ongoing risk to health.”
Directly following the illness, Justine Hoy, head of community protection, said: “The information so far indicates this is a virus that has affected a number of people who were all in town on Saturday night – we are waiting for lab results to confirm this. Anyone affected should take care to ensure good personal hygiene. This means washing your hands with soap and water regularly and thoroughly drying them. This is particularly important after using the toilet and before preparing food or eating. Don’t rely on alcohol gels as these do not kill the virus. If this is an infection with norovirus, which we think it is, this is self-limiting and most people will make a full recovery in one or two days. It is important to keep hydrated – especially children and the elderly”.
A Walkabout spokesperson said: “Further to the recent situation we are liaising with the local authority in their investigation.”
Advice on managing the virus can be found at nhs.uk/conditions/norovirus