Almost 100 sick as Arby’s restaurant closes for second time

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An Arby’s restaurant has closed for the second time in less than a month because of an outbreak of foodborne illnesses among its customers. Health officials say the pathogen involved is norovirus, which is notoriously hard to eradicate. 

More than 90 people have reported becoming ill after eating at the Springfield, IL, Arby’s location. The first illnesses were reported in mid-February, spurring the first temporary closure of the restaurant for cleaning.

An employee of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health confirmed that the restaurant on Dirksen Parkway in Springfield has temporarily closed for a second time. The department recommended deep cleaning and employee training. Officials made similar recommendations for the first closure in late February.

The Sangamon County restaurant inspection records show the original complaint about the Arby’s on Dirksen Parkway came in and was investigated on Feb. 23. Inspectors went back for four “spot checks” in relation to that complaint.

County records show a temperature violation found on Feb. 24 involved unrefrigerated sauces. Restaurant operators decided to move storage of the sauces to an appropriate place, according to the inspection report. The restaurant reopened in less than a week.

About norovirus infections
Norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach or intestines. This is called acute gastroenteritis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A person usually develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to norovirus. Most people with norovirus illness get better within 1 to 3 days.

People with norovirus illness feel extremely ill and have severe vomiting and/or diarrhea many times a day. This can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults, and people with other illnesses.

Anyone who has eaten at the implicated Arby’s restaurant recently and developed these symptoms should contact the county health department at 217-535-3100.

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