Rae Ellen Bichell of NPR writes that a majority of working adults say they still go to work when they have a cold or the flu. There are some jobs where doing that can have a big effect on health.
At least half of people who work in very public places, like hospitals and restaurants, report going to work when they have a cold or the flu. Those were among the findings of a poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
They are some of the last people you’d want to go to work sick, because they tend to have a lot of contact with people. And that helps spread disease.
“It’s one of the biggest food safety problems that there is, and we’ve known about it forever,” says Kirk Smith, who oversees foodborne outbreak investigations with the Minnesota Department of Health. But he says it’s really hard to get people to stop doing it.
When it comes to food handling, there’s one illness that’s particularly concerning: norovirus. “It is by far the most common cause of foodborne illness,” says Smith. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus is responsible for 35 percent of them.
That’s because there are billions of virus particles per gram in stool and vomit. It only takes about 20 of those to get someone sick. And norovirus can hitchhike from surface to surface. It takes a high concentration of bleach to kill it.
“And so it just takes microcontamination of your hands, if you don’t do a perfect job washing, to be able to contaminate food with enough of the virus to infect lots and lots of people,” says Smith.
The same virus has plagued restaurant customers across the country. Last winter, 140 people — including much of the Boston College basketball team — got sick from eating at a Chipotle in Boston where one person had gone to work sick.
“It’s definitely the norm to go into work sick. That’s what I and most of my co-workers usually do,” says Anthony Peeples. He used to work at an Olive Garden restaurant. Now he’s a bartender at a casino in Michigan City, Ind.
The CDC has found that 1 in 5 food service workers has reported working while sick with vomiting and diarrhea.
David Anthony Frieko, 32, of Clermont, was charged with DUI and resisting arrest after an employee at a Burger King in Clermont called police to report a driver in the drive-thru line had vomited in a vehicle, according to an arrest affidavit.
The man also paid $35 for an $8 order.
Police said when they responded to the State Road 50 restaurant at about 11:40 p.m., they found Frieko in the driver seat with his head down, his eyes bloodshot and glassy and his vehicle running. Officers say they smelled alcohol.
They had to pull Frieko out of the vehicle after he refused to exit, and he was unsteady on his feet.
Frieko reportedly refused sobriety tests and was arrested.
Slipknot’s North American tour with Manson kicks off in Nashville tonight, having been postponed when Taylor underwent surgery on his spine.
And the vocalist says things have previously gotten a little weird backstage when his band and Manson were on the same Ozzfest 2001 bill.
Taylor tells Rolling Stone: “I was pretty lit, pretty much for that whole tour. I do remember throwing up in a cup and drinking it in front of Manson and he kind of freaked out.
“He didn’t really know how to take it. And then he ran into our dressing room in tighty-whitey underwear and kind of danced for us and kind of ran back out, and we were like, ‘What the fuck just happened?'”
Taylor adds that, despite both Slipknot and Manson’s reputation for shenanigans, they tend not to try outdo each other when it comes to pranks.
“… there’s a mutual respect that goes along with that positive competition that will make for great shows no matter where we are. To me, that’s the best respect that you can show a fellow artist, especially someone you really enjoy what they do.”
John Forenca and Jennifer Miles had booked to spend a week on the P&O cruise ship Pacific Dawn.
But, after spending hundreds of dollars on the cruise, the couple were met with a string of problems including vomit in the elevator, broken facilities and mould in their bedroom.
“One of the lifts you couldn’t use because the doors closed on you — that didn’t seem very safe,” Forenca told the Geelong Advertiser.
“There was an outdoor TV screen so you could watch movies after dinner but that wasn’t working either.”
Forenca also said that his partner found vomit in the elevator which was not cleaned up after she reported it.
“The last three or four days people got gastro … three toilets broke down as well,” he told the newspaper.
A spokesman for P&O Cruises said they were sorry to hear the couple hadn’t enjoyed their cruise but did not believe it was the “widespread sentiment”.
“As Australia’s largest cruise operator, P&O Cruises is very proud of the high standards that we maintain across our fleet and this is reflected in the positive feedback we receive from our guests. If customer service issues do arise on board they are attended to quickly.”
Pacific Dawn has capacity for 2000 passengers and departs from Brisbane.
Some-kind-of-Brit celeb Martine McCutcheon, 40, has revealed that she once found herself on the arm of the amorous Simply Red frontman, Mick Hucknall, now 56 – but things soon came to a sickly end when she vomited in his hair.
‘We met at a premiere,’ she recalled. ‘And I can’t eat, drinking the champagne and I’ve gone in the car, engine goes over, I [grumbled] like something out of the exorcist.’
Speaking on Loose Women on Wednesday, she added: ‘I [vomited on him]. He had dreadlocks. The dreadlocks flicked [into the vomit]. Not long after that, he had to cut his dreadlocks off!’
A case-control epidemiological study of the risk of disease and the relative importance of each mode of transmission was carried out. Cases and controls were selected from a systematic sample of students and teachers present at the school on 28 January. Fecal samples were taken from three food handlers and 16 cases. The influence of each factor was studied using the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) and the estimated population attributable risk (ePAR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). We interviewed 210 people (42 cases, 168 controls). The proportion of symptoms in these individuals was nausea 78·6%, vomiting 59·5%, diarrhoea 45·2%, and fever 19·0%. The epidemic curve showed transmission for at least 4 days. The risk of disease was associated with exposure to food (aOR 5·8) in 66·1% of cases and vomit (aOR 4·7) in 24·8% of cases. aecal samples from 11 patients and two food handlers were positive for norovirus GII.12 g.
Vomit may co-exist with other modes of transmission in norovirus outbreaks and could explain a large number of cases.
Norovirus gastroenteritis outbreak transmitted by food and vomit in a high school
Ms Harnett wrote that her son became ill and vomited on the floor while they were waiting for their food.
She said she didn’t expect staff to clean it up, but she was left shocked when she had to pay extra to do it herself.
She wrote: “One of the waitresses gave me paper towel and a wet towel. I cleaned it up and she came back with plastic bags for me to dispose of. All fine with that.
“The lady in charge comes over after we’d finished eaten and said, I heard you had a little accident. The standard charge in any restaurant is $30 if you want us to finish cleaning up.”
Ms Harnett said she mopped the floor herself and claims when she went to pay her bill was increased by $10 as someone had to disinfect the mop.
“I was taken aback,” she told The Chronicle.
“They could have shown a bit of compassion.”
According to the publication a spokesman from the eatery said: “The incident caused us a loss of income because that section for the restaurant wasn’t able to be used for a period of time.”
The restaurant reportedly acknowledges the situation would have been embarrassing for the family, and that it was an unfortunate situation for both parties.
“We thought at the time that our nominal charge of $10 was fair considering we had to allocate a staff member to clean up the mess to our satisfaction after they left – to make sure the area was properly sterilised.”
The spokesperson reportedly said the cost to the restaurant was more than $10 and the staff member who sterilised the area after the family left felt unwell and had to sit outside.
“If we were given that set of circumstances again, we probably wouldn’t charge $10 but just accept it as our lot,” the spokesperson reportedly said.
In response to the news, the Sunshine Coast Daily asked other restaurants of their policy and found many were surprised by the bistro’s decision to charge a customer extra for cleaning after her child vomited on the premises.
Dion Spadaro, general manager of The Boat Shed at Cotton Tree, was shocked to hear that a Montville bistro had charged a customer for the loss of space and staff time while the mess was cleaned up.
“It’s not something that we would do. It’s not like we don’t have buckets and cleaning equipment,” Mr Spadaro said.
“We look after our customers whatever their needs are.
“If customers make a mess in the toilet, we clean that up. If someone makes a mess elsewhere, we clean that up, that’s what we do.”
Gavin Murray, of Murray’s Cafe, at Cotton Tree, said there was “no way in the world” he would charge a fee for cleaning up after a child had vomited at his business.
“On the weekend, we had a mum whose little girl was sick at the table. She made it to the toilets but must have made a bit of a mess. The mum was very apologetic and we said it’s not a problem,” Mr Murray said
“We ran out, grabbed the mop and bucket and between us, got it done and got back to work.
“We’ve all been there, we’ve all got kids.
“There’s no way we would charge someone for their child being sick. It’s something that no-one can predict. You just deal with it.”
Michael Mulhearne, the owner of Tides Waterfront Dining at Caloundra, said the restaurant business was about customer service and he would not charge a fee to clean up after a customer.
“I understand it but I wouldn’t do it,” he said.
“They are going to lose that customer for life, they have lost a heap of other customers. They are not going to get anything good out of it except for their name in the paper.”
Another restaurant figure, who declined to be named, was also surprised at the fee.
“We would never do that in our restaurant. If the mum helped clean up, even better, but we would never charge them,” she said.
Five people shared their thoughts with the Sunshine Coast Daily on cleaning up after unfortunate incidents involving bodily fluids:
Andrew Hebron said his work in public transport exposed him to some unforgettable things.
“Let me tell you about cleaning up other peoples’ mess,” he said.
“Name an orifice and I’ll paint you a picture.”
Mr Hebron said making a mess was an unfortunate consequence of life.
“We eat, we poo and sometimes things don’t go to plan in between … and out it all comes to much fanfare (in my case) and colour,” he said.
“I have had people offer to clean up their mess and very reluctantly decline, because I’m the one in charge.
“I’m the one with the keys. I’m the one who will get it done in short order and put out the yellow cone.”
Miranda King: “I work in a chemist and every time a child vomits or wees, which is disgusting, we are the ones who clean it. While dry retching.”
Bev Wilson: “I work at a school as a cleaner and we always have to clean up vomit.”
Alicia Williams: “I clean up my kids vomit at the shops.”
Jenna Lubbock: “I work at Woolworths and I clean it up as well as feces and wee.”
Carlo Nicholson, who was made to drink from a paddling pool full of urine and vomit, said he was left feeling suicidal following the “joining run” event – watched by 80 drunken men – and carried out by 45 Commando, based at Royal Marine Condor in Arbroath in May 2014.
Marine Ian Tennet, 22, Lance Corporal Scott Simm, 26, and James Taylor, 27, who is now a lance corporal in the Royal Marines Reserves, were all sentenced for a charge of ill-treatment of a subordinate.
Tennet was sentenced to 11 months and two weeks’ detention, while Simm and Taylor were both sentenced to eight months.
A fourth defendant, former Marine Ryan Logan, 25, was sentenced to 220 hours of unpaid community work for battery and disgraceful conduct of a cruel kind.
Sentencing the defendants at Portsmouth Naval Base’s court martial centre, Judge Advocate Robert Hill said the event had been “40 minutes of depravity and naked humiliation”.
He said: “The suggestion has been made it was nothing more than a rite of passage, and its purpose was not to humiliate, harm or distress but to harness bonding, and is something all Royal Marines Commandos have gone through – but it’s no more than conduct that brings disgrace on the Commandos involved.”
He said the defendants had been described during the court hearing as “scapegoats” and added: “It is not the purpose of this court to set itself up as a board of inquiry. It has been noted with considerable concern that more senior non-commissioned officers haven’t found their way to the court martial system. Had they done so the likely position they would face is a starting point of a term of imprisonment.”
Military training: During the initiation event, described in court as a “rite of passage”, Mr Nicholson, along with other newcomers to the unit, was forced to run naked around the camp with bottles and milk and lemonade taped to his arms.
He was made to lie down in the paddling pool containing urine and vomit while eggs were thrown at him, as well as to fight other marines while naked and covered in cooking oil.
He was also made to eat dessert spoons of chill, cinnamon and curry powder, eat dog food out of a mess tin while on all fours, eat lard and swallow liquid through a funnel as well as made to consume the contents of a mess tin filled from the paddling pool which also contained a rollmop herring, lard and cider.
The major pet nutrition firm said certain packs of its chicken and fish cat food pouches in the UK contain a large amount of iron, which can cause digestive upset, including vomited and diarrhea.
The feline food was pumped full of iron in error by an ingredient supplier.
The Food Standards Agency are urging pet owners not to feed their cats the foodstuff but instead return it to their nearest store for a full refund.
Owners who have already fed it to their cat should consult a vet, they said.
In a statement, Hill’s nutrition said: “Hill’s Pet Nutrition is voluntarily recalling specific manufacturing batches of the single-serving cat food pouches. Due to an error by an ingredient supplier, the products contain high levels of iron. … At Hill’s we take great pride in the quality and safety of our pet food products.”
Except when it comes to checking ingredients from suppliers.