About 50 people who ate at two Valencia restaurants earlier this month became very sick, according to a CBS News Video. The news channel reports that diners who ate at the Buca Di Beppo Italian restaurant and a Marie Callender’s barely blocks away reported becoming sick soon after eating there.
Robert Swartz, who was interviewed by CBS, said both he and his wife suffered the consequences after eating at Buca Di Beppo. He told reporters that he and his wife experienced nausea, diarrhea, fevers and chills. His wife had to be hospitalized and administered IV fluids, he said.
Victims of this mysterious food-borne illness contacted the Los Angeles Health Department, whose investigators later tied in complaints from both restaurants and actually determined exactly what happened. As it turns out, the illness was spread by one employee who worked at both restaurants. He was reportedly the one who cut fruits and vegetables for the salad.
According to the CBS report, officials believe he was sickened with a norovirus, which is contagious and may have been spread in this case by the employee who probably didn’t wash his hands after going to the bathroom.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control defines noroviruses as a group of viruses that cause the “stomach flu” or gastroenteritis in people. Like all viral infections, this cannot be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms usually involve nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping, fever, chills, headache, muscle ache and a general sense of exhaustion. The illness will often begin suddenly making the infected person feel very sick.
These types of outbreaks are becoming increasingly common. In fact, it’s hard to eat out these days without feeling a bit of anxiety about what you may get infected with. It is a restaurant’s responsibility to monitor employees and make sure they wash their hands and follow certain mandatory safety regulations. Restaurants must also ensure that all foods are stored at right temperatures so that they do not become contaminated with certain bacteria.
The system worked well, the way it was supposed to, in this case because diners reported their illnesses promptly to the health department, which was able to get to the bottom of it and prevent more people from falling sick.