Sangamon Health Department Confirms Norovirus is Cause of Arby’s Outbreak
On March 2nd, 2021, the Sangamon County Department of Public Health confirmed that the recent food poisoning outbreak linked to an Arby’s restaurant in Springfield, Illinois, was caused by norovirus. People began reporting cases of potential food poisoning after dining at the 3009 S. Dirksen Parkway in Springfield Arby’s location, around February 20th, 2021. The Outbreak was officially announced on February 25th, by the Sangamon County Department of Public Health after approximately 40 people filed cases of related food poisoning illness. Subsequent laboratory tests revealed that the cause of the outbreak was norovirus. Health officials believe that the virus was most likely spread by a worker who prepared ready-to-eat food products while contaminated with the norovirus.
According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus is one of the leading causes of food poisoning illness in the US. Norovirus is a type of virus which is very contagious and causes symptoms similar to that of the stomach flu, such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. In fact, many people who experience these symptoms believe they have the stomach flu or the stomach bug, however, Norovirus is a completely different virus than the influenza virus. Norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines, which is called acute gastroenteritis. Norovirus is extremely contagious and most commonly spread from microscopic fecal matter or through an infected person’s vomit. It can also be spread when someone comes into contact with a contaminated object or surface and then puts their fingers in their mouth. People generally contract symptoms within 12 to 48 hours of being exposed to norovirus and symptoms typically last between 1 and 3 days.
The greatest health risk of norovirus is severe dehydration. For this reason, it is extremely important that anyone who becomes sick with norovirus manages their fluid intake. Additionally, anyone who is ill with norovirus should be careful to practice proper personal hygiene, in order to prevent its further spread.
For further information regarding this outbreak, visit the Sangamon County Department of Public Health’s website.