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Almost 100 Customers Are Sick After Eating at This Popular Fast-Food Chain

The pathogen has been identified as the norovirus.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

Since our first report on Feb. 28 about 40 cases of foodborne illness linked to an Arby's location in Springfield, Ill., dozens of more customers have fallen ill, forcing the fast-food restaurant to close for the second time in less than a month.

According to Food Safety News, almost 100 cases of illness have now been reported from the specific Arby's location, and while the source of the contamination is still unknown, health officials have stated the pathogen in question is norovirus. The virus is highly contagious and spreads easily, making it difficult to eradicate.

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The first case of illness at the Dirksen Parkway location was reported back in mid-February, which prompted the restaurant to shut down for deep cleaning. The Sangamon County Department of Public Health first investigated the site on Feb. 23 and was back for several spot checks afterward. Their inspection on the 24th found a temperature violation relating to unrefrigerated sauces, which were later moved and stored at a more appropriate place. The restaurant was reopened a week later.

The Arby's in question has now been closed for a second time, however, and another round of deep cleaning and employee training has been recommended by health officials.

If exposed to norovirus, a person will start feeling the symptoms 12 to 48 hours later, which include severe vomiting and diarrhea, stomach cramping, and in some cases fever, chills, and headache. The illness lasts between 1 and 3 days in most healthy adults. If you've eaten at this Arby's location and experienced these symptoms, you should contact the county health department at 217-535-3100.

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UPDATE: A spokesperson for Arby's reached out to Eat This, Not That! with the following statement:

"Arby's is committed to the highest levels of hygiene and food safety standards, and this is an isolated incident at a franchised location. Last week, out of an abundance of caution, the franchisee proactively decided to close the restaurant through the end of the month. The franchisee is fully engaged with the local health department and has conducted a professional deep clean, reinforced food safety training with all employees, and will have met all health department guidelines before reopening."

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Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more