February 28, 2024

Food Poisoning Strikes Philadelphia Gathering of Lawyers, Law Students

A Chinese New Year banquet in Philadelphia’s Chinatown triggered one of the largest food poisoning outbreaks in the city’s history, according to Philly.com. Nearly 100 lawyers and law students who attended the banquet were sickened.

Food Poisoning TorsoThere were 250 guests at the Feb. 27 celebration at Joy Tsin Lau, a dim sum restaurant. Two days later, dozens of them fell ill, some ended up in the emergency room, according to the report.

The owner of the restaurant told the newspaper that  it was not the food that made the customers ill, but perhaps a virus or an overindulgence in alcohol.

David S. Haase, a Center City lawyer, told the newspaper that he he did not head to the bar after the banquet, but began to feel ill about 30 hours after the meal. He said he was bedridden for days with vomiting and explosive diarrhea and missed his daughter’s championship track meet due to the illness.

A health department spokesman told the paper that, by law, he was not permitted to disclose details of the investigation, but that a food source had been identified.

“If you enjoy being on your back for the 48 hours post-dinner writhing in pain, burning up, and exploding out of all orifices, then this is the restaurant for you,” Jack Jiang, a University of Pennsylvania researcher who attended the banquet with his girlfriend, told the paper.

Norovirus is a likely suspect. Highly contagious, it is  the most common cause of food poisoning outbreaks in the U.S. sickening about 20 million people a year. Often infected food workers are the source of restaurant-based outbreaks.


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