Illness outbreak at Blimpie restaurant caused by Norovirus(Grand Rapids, May 18, 2005) The Kent County Health Department has completed its investigation into a food-borne illness outbreak at a Blimpie restaurant in Grand Rapids.
More than 100 people got sick earlier this month after eating sandwiches from the restaurant located at 1040 Leonard Street NW.
On May 5, some teachers at Sibley Elementary School got sick after eating Blimpie sandwiches purchased for Teacher Appreciation Day.
The next day, some employees of School Specialty Publishing contacted the health department after they too ate meals from the same restaurant and got sick.
Health department officials inspected the restaurant that day but could not find an immediate cause.
Then employees of Bethany Christian Services became ill, also after eating food from the restaurant.
Two days later, members of the community called the health department to report similar illnesses associated with the restaurant.
In all, 125 people became sick.
The restaurant voluntarily closed on May 10.
The health department determined the cause of the illness six days later when test results were returned.
The restaurant reopened on Tuesday after a thorough cleaning.
Health department officials tell 24 Hour News 8 that they think this is an isolated incident. They do not think other Blimpie restaurants have this problem.
Norovirus is highly contagious and is considered the leading cause of food-borne illness in the United States. Some of the common symptoms associated with the illness include vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you can contact this illness by eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with Norovirus; touching surfaces or objects contaminated with Norovirus, and then placing their hand in their mouth; having direct contact with another person who is infected and showing symptoms (for example, when caring for someone with illness, or sharing foods or eating utensils with someone who is ill).
The virus has made headlines in recent years after many passengers on cruise ships contacted it.
Health officials say proper hand washing can reduce the risk of the illness.