Would You Like Norovirus With That Subway Sandwich?

Though it could just be the summertime version of winter vomiting disease!

A Subway employee in Freeport, Texas claims she was fired after she became so ill that sympathetic workers at a nearby restaurant called 911 to care for her.

Elizabeth Taft …told Local 2 Houston that when she reported to work sick with a stomach virus last week, her manager refused to allow her to leave.

I was going back and forth to the bathroom, puking my guts out,” Taft said. “I was sweating, I was drenched in sweat. I felt weak.” But her manager just ordered her to resume working on the line.

“So until about 1 o’clock, I was on the line making sandwiches and [her manager] knew I was sick,” she said. “I was touching everybody’s sandwiches. I’m like ‘this ain’t right.’ I had gloves on, but that doesn’t matter.”

She eventually became so feverish that she stumbled outside, where an employee from a nearby restaurant came to her aid.

He took pictures of her and posted them to Facebook with the caption, “if you planned on eating Freeport Subway today I advise not to, I witnessed an employee vomiting and her manager just telling her to switch shirts.”

This manager was essentially poisoning his customers. The manager should be fired. This is yet another reason why we need nationallymandated sick days.

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3 Responses to Would You Like Norovirus With That Subway Sandwich?

  1. AndrewD says:

    Here in the UK, the Public Health people would have shut the Subway store down for radical cleaning and prosecuted the company and Supervisor for endangering the public. Don’t you have Public Health officials in the US?

    • onkelbob says:

      The same response would happen in a few USA states, which brings to the front the difference. Our states, and cities, enforce health codes through their respective agencies. The large PHS (where the Surgeon General wears a uniform) only acts in cases of national importance. Something as local as this would be handled by city authorities. In some cities, LA comes to mind, the place would be closed once the hospital workers reported the incident. But this happened in the enlightened state of Texas, where I suspect the health codes are not as stringent.

  2. Hurray! Norovirus (or a Norovirus-like virus) in a fast food restaurant! Let’s not forget the incredibly high R0 number, the absurdly small number of viral particles needed to cause infection, the viral shedding, and the fact that droplet/contact transmission of norovirus is associated with vomiting.

    Also, this;

    “The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code [12] applies to food handlers working in food service establishments. The 2005 Food Code specifically recognizes norovirus as highly infectious and restricts any food handling by symptomatic employees who have received a diagnosis of norovirus infection. Asymptomatic food employees who have received a diagnosis of norovirus infection are also restricted from working in food establishments that serve a “highly susceptible population”. The timing of the exclusion ranges from 24 h to 48 h, depending on whether the food employee was symptomatic (in which case, the timing is 48 h after symptoms have resolved) or asymptomatic. Some state and local health departments have suggested more-stringent time restrictions, such as excluding ill food employees for at least 72 h after gastrointestinal illness symptoms subside and prohibiting contact with kitchenware or ready-to-eat food for an additional 72 h [13]. However, 24–72 h is not likely to be a sufficient exclusion period for a food handler, because it is not unusual for someone with norovirus infection to shed virus for 2–3 weeks.” Moe, CL. Preventing norovirus transmission: how should we handle food handlers? Clin Infect Dis. (2009) 48 (1): 38-40.doi: 10.1086/594119

    In short, the restaurant needs to bleach bombed. Letting an employee work with a GI bug is higher-order stupid. I see too the poor employee has been fired. Was any other outcome more predictable? The assholery in this story is endless.

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