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Call Collett: Itchy rash follows lunch on restaurant patio, cause unclear

A local restaurant comes under fire from several patrons who complain of rashes after dining on the patio.

 One of the local moms called Count on 2 investigator Rebecca Collett to find out what's causing the rashes and what's being done to stop it from spreading.

One day after a girls’ only lunch, April Newmoyer started itching.

 “It starts out extremely itchy,” she described the rash on the back of her legs. “Then it hardens. Then it blisters.”  

 She’d eaten on the patio at the Wild Wing Café at the Market at Oakland shopping center in Mt. Pleasant on a nice day last December.  That was the only thing she could figure led to the rash.

 Her doctor speculated it was a reaction to the chemical cleaner used at the popular wing restaurant.  He also advised it could be bug bites.  

 The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) confirmed to News 2 that they started investigating in January after the initial reports surfaced. A spokesperson told News 2 back then that the agency "received a report from a health care provider".  "The skin conditions are unrelated to a Retail Food Establishment", the statement continued. In short, it wasn’t a food-related rash.

The accusations surfaced again in May on social media.

 “It wasn't taken as serious as it should have been,” Newmoyer said.

 She experienced the rash in December, but assumed the problem had been handled.  In April, she ate at the restaurant again, and this time the rash was worse. The itching lasted more than a month.

There are more than 49 responses to a Facebook post from May on the Mommy Exchange page. Many mothers described extremely itchy rashes or bug bites.  Some posted pictures of the red, raised sores. They each claim their only connection is eating on the Oakland Wild Wing Cafe patio.

SCDHEC confirmed to News 2 that two more people reported it to the agency in May.  

 In a follow-up statement, a spokesperson wrote: “Based on the information gathered, there is no evidence of an infectious cause of the rashes, however, a definitive cause has not been determined.” 

News 2 repeatedly asked the owner of the restaurant for an interview about the complaints, but he declined to speak on camera. 

Over the phone he said if there was a problem, it's been solved.  He told News 2 that since the second surge of complaints, he has replaced patio chairs and swapped cleaners.

 SCDHEC recommends that anyone who develops a rash consider seeking medical care for further evaluation, particularly if symptoms are significant.


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