Thanks to Seth Slabaugh of the Muncie Indiana Star Press for his article today “January illness linked to employees – The Subway in Hartford City contributed to outbreak.”

Once again ill subway employees sicken customers – See, Subway Restaurant Shigella Outbreak Lawsuits – Illinois (2010) and Subway Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuits – Washington (1999), and a health department failed to disclose the link to the public.

norovirus-outbreak-2012.jpgAccording to Mr. Slabaugh:

“Sick Subway employees reported to work while ill during a Norovirus outbreak linked to the restaurant, according to a state health department report obtained by The Star Press. This information was discovered by the Blackford County Health Department during an investigation of the outbreak but was not shared with the public.

About 90 community members became ill with gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, nausea, cramps, chills, fatigue and headache) on or after Jan. 5. The county health department began receiving calls on Jan. 7. Three victims were hospitalized, two others were treated in the emergency room and three more were treated at doctors’ offices.

Six stool samples from Subway employees analyzed at the state health department laboratory tested positive for Norovirus, according to a Feb. 7 report authored by Stephanie English, an epidemiologist at the department. “The Blackford County Health Department identified sick employees who reported working while symptomatic,” English wrote. “Four Subway employees were sick with nausea, diarrhea and/or vomiting on Saturday, Jan. 7. Most employees self reported to co-workers that employees worked while sick.”

The six-page report concluded, “Subway was a contributing factor to the spread of Norovirus in Blackford County.”

Thanks to Mr. Slabaugh and other members of the press who do the job of informing the public when public health fails to do their duty.