November 18, 2017

Jimmy John’s Food Poisoning Outbreak in Wisconsin

Jimmy John’s restaurants have been linked to outbreaks of E. coli food poisoning in the past. Now an outbreak of norovirus has been linked to the Jimmy John’s restaurant at 3910 Schofield Avenue in Weston, Wisconsin, according to the Marathon County Health Department in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

Food safety attorney Fred Pritzker said, “Ill food service workers should stay home.” Call him at 1-888-377-8900.

Lawyer Fred Pritzker, who represents people sickened by unsafe food, said, “No one should get sick just because they decided to get a sandwich for lunch. Restaurants have a responsibility to serve safe food that is not contaminated by pathogens.”

Sprouts were the culprit in past outbreaks of illness. A multistate outbreak of E. coli O26 infections was linked to raw clover sprouts at certain Jimmy John’s restaurants in 2012, sickening 29 people and hospitalizing 7, some with a severe complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure. Another outbreak in 2014, this time E. coli O121, was linked to the consumption of raw clover sprouts served at Jimmy John’s locations in King and Spokane counties in Washington state. Those sprouts were distributed by Evergreen Sprouts LLC.

The source of the norovirus outbreak linked to the Weston, WI Jimmy John’s may be a sick employee, according to Dale Grosskurth, Environmental Health and Safety Director at the Marathon County Health Department, who confirmed to Food Poisoning Bulletin that a norovirus outbreak has been linked to that particular Jimmy John’s restaurant and that an ill employee is the suspected source of the outbreak. At least 100 people have been sickened, according to Grosskurth, who declined to provide numbers or specifics.

Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes symptoms that include nausea and vomiting. We don’t know when the illnesses started, when they were reported to public health officials, or if the outbreak is over. We also do not know the dates that the ill employee worked at the restaurant.

Norovirus

The restaurant is working with the health department to sanitize the location. All of the food that was prepared during the outbreak time period has been discarded.

Infected food workers can shed billions of norovirus particles and spread illness, according to the CDC. Norovirus is the leading cause of disease outbreaks from restaurants, but hepatitis A outbreaks have also been linked to ill food workers. Most states have laws against letting ill food service workers prepare and serve food for others.

 

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