April 23, 2024

Firefly Restaurant Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 89 People

The Salmonella outbreak associated with Firefly on Paradise restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada has sickened 89 people, including 86 patrons and 3 employees, according to¬†Southern Nevada Health District Epidemiologist Dr. Linh Nguygn. The outbreak was first reported by eight independent groups of the restaurant’s patrons on April 26, 2013. All of those sickened ate at the restaurant from April 21 to April 24, 2013. Symptoms of illness included diarrhea and/or vomiting.

TrichinellosisOn that same day, public health officials performed an investigative inspection and closed Firefly and Dragonfly restaurants to minimize the risk of illness. The Office of Epidemiology (OOE) staff performed telephone interviews with ill patrons to get more information and the SNHD foodborne illness complaint database was searched to identify any other complaints against the restaurant in the 30 days before the outbreak. OOE and Environmental Health (EH) staff visited the restaurant on April 26 and interviewed management and employees about their illnesses in the last two weeks, their current illness status, and whether the restaurant had a sick employee policy.

Ill restaurant patrons and staff were asked to provide stool specimens for bacterial culture to test for Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, E. coli O157, Yersinia, Vibrio, norovirus, and STEC. Food specimens were collected as well and sent to the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory for pathogen testing.

Forty employees worked the dinner shift at the restaurant on April 26, 2013. Of these, 33 were interviewed. Three employees said they had recently been ill with gastrointestinal symptoms. The restaurant does have a sick employee policy.

During the environmental inspection, officials found that “numerous conditions existed that could contribute to an outbreak of a foodborne disease including: inadequate holding of food, inadequate cooling, improper hand washing, employee bare hand contact with ready to eat food, improper food storage practices, improper cleaning practices, and improper thawing of food.” Firefly received 44 demerits and Dragonfly received 47 demerits. Both restaurants were closed.

Of the 14 stool specimens submitted for testing, seven were positive for Salmonella, one was negative for Salmonella, and the results of six samples are pending. The SNHD EH and OOE staff will continue to review Firefly’s food preparation methods and the foodborne illness database for additional complaints of illness. If you ate at this restaurant from April 21-24, 2013 and experienced the symptoms of a Salmonella infection, including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever, chills, headache, and muscle pains, see your doctor immediately and fill out a Foodborne Illness Complaint Form to help officials track this outbreak.

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