October 23, 2018

Nevada Regulations Prohibit Ill Workers From Handling Food

The Communicable Disease Protocol¬†of the state of Nevada stipulates that restaurant employees should not work if they are ill. The protocol states that “A person excreting Salmonella spp. shall not work in a sensitive occupation unless authorized to do so by the health authority.”

The Salmonella outbreak at Firefly on Paradise in Las Vegas may have been caused by employees working while they were ill. Three of the 33 employees interviewed by public health officials indicated they were sick with “gastrointestinal symptoms” in the days before the outbreak began. The problem is that many people do not realize they have Salmonella infections, and continue to shed the bacteria even after they feel better and return to work.

 

According to NAC 441A.680, an employee sickened with Salmonella must have two negative fecal specimens at least 24 hours apart and at least 48 hours after the cessation of treatment before working in a “sensitive occupation”. Food and beverage handlers are considered employed in sensitive occupations, because they “enhance the potential for transmission of a communicable disease to other persons if a person who is infected with the communicable disease is working while in a contagious stage.”

The illnesses that are listed as communicable include gastrointestinal illnesses, Hepatitis A, including symptoms of jaundice, lesions that cannot be effectively covered, and sore throat with fever. Employees must be available for interviewing and obtaining clinical specimens, and managers must provide information on work schedules, illness histories, and “any other information necessary to complete the investigation.” Firefly restaurant is cooperating with public health officials in the investigation of this outbreak, and the restaurant does have an ill employee policy.

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