Diners who ate at a Brevard, N.C., McDonald's restaurant became sick recently, but health agencies have said norovirus was to blame and that the incident was not related to cyclospora, which caused 3,000 McDonald's to remove salads.
( File photo )

A wave of illnesses traced to a Brevard, N.C., McDonald’s restaurant is norovirus, and the county health department said it’s not related to a multi-state outbreak from cyclospora in the fast food chain’s salads.

According to Transylvania Public Health, it’s likely the virus was spread by a person, and not a food or beverage. Although the public health department referred to a “local restaurant,” in a news release, media reports named a McDonald’s restaurant, which closed briefly when the illnesses were first reported.

According to the release, that North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health confirmed to local health officials that samples were positive for norovirus.

“We believe this outbreak was caused by being exposed to this highly contagious virus in a public place,” according to the news release.

The county health department has confirmed more than 70 cases, and more than 200 other people called to report symptoms related to norovirus since July 31, according to the county’s release on Aug. 3.

“Many, (but not all) of the people who reported symptoms to use recalled visiting a local restaurant 1-2 days before becoming ill,” according to the release. “Other people reported having close contact with someone who had norovirus symptoms prior to becoming ill.”

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating another outbreak linked to McDonald’s restaurants. That outbreak, related to cyclospora parasites believed to have originated in romaine supplied by a Streamwood, Ill., Fresh Express plant, led to about 3,000 McDonald’s pulling salads from the menu.

Fresh Express officials said they are working with health agencies to trace the origin of the cyclospora.

As of Aug. 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 395 cases of cyclosporasis in connection with the McDonald’s salads.

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