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Intestinal illness outbreak linked to cafeteria of Goochland business

Posted at 11:24 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-26 11:48:47-04

GOOCHLAND, Va. --  It was a calm day outside of the Carmax headquarters off of Route 288 in Goochland on Thursday. But inside, a workplace cafeteria was linked to an outbreak of foodborne illness.

"We received a report from a business because they had identified a cluster of cases among their employees," Dr. Lillian Peake, State Epidemiologist with the Virginia Department of Health said.

Dr. Peake said VDH started investigating three clusters of intestinal illness potentially connected to three different workplace cafeterias in early June.

"This is caused by a parasite called Cyclospora," Dr. Peake said. "People who get sick from Cyclospora develop watery diarrhea."

Two of the cafeterias are in Northern Virginia: one at Capital One headquarters in McLean, and the other at the Valo Park Building in McLean.

The third is CarMax

"It can last days, sometimes months, and sometimes it can go away and then it can come back," Dr. Peake said.

Four of the 39 confirmed cases of this foodborne illness happened in Central Virginia, and Dr. Peake said it's very possible we may see more.

VDH is still investigating the source of the outbreaks, but Dr. Peake says this particular type of foodborne illness is typically found on produce.

"People can have the parasite and not wash their hands, and then it can contaminate food," Dr. Peake said.

Dr. Peake said antibiotics can treat the illness so it's important to see a doctor ASAP if you experience symptoms.

"We're seeing it more commonly now than we did 10 years ago," Dr. Peak said.

Virginia isn't the only state experiencing an increase.

A quick google search shows Massachusetts and Maryland both experiencing an uptick in intestinal illnesses related to the foodborne parasite.

CBS 6 out to CarMax about the outbreak and they sent us the following statement:

"We take the health of our associates very seriously. We are assisting the Virginia Department of Health with their investigation of GI illnesses. We have informed associates and advise that they stay home if they are experiencing illness and consult with their medical provider. We will continue to partner with the Virginia Department of Health on this matter and request that you direct any questions to them at this time."

You can identify your local health district office here. 

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