The heat is on in the kitchen of Chili's Restaurant at the Bayside location in downtown, and not because of the restaurant's namesake pepper. A Chili's statement confirmed that a former cook at the restaurant was diagnosed with typhoid fever earlier this month. And while that same cook is now back in his native Haiti, and doing well, it is unclear whether other workers have been infected.
Chili's officials say the Miami-Dade County Health Department gave them the OK to remain open for business and that no other employees or diners have been impacted. But because the incubation period for the fever could be up to 30 days, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there is still doubt as to whether other workers or patrons could turn up sick.
CBS4 reported that an unnamed employee from the restaurant told them that 46 out of 70 employees had been tested for typhoid and came back negative. No word about the 24 remaining workers. According to the CDC, you can get typhoid fever "if you eat food or drink beverages that have been handled by a person who has it." Symptoms include high fever, weakness, stomach pains, and loss of appetite. The CDC says that you can be barred legally from going back to work until a doctor has determined you no longer carry the bacteria which cause it.
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The typhoid fever scare rounds out what has been a putrid month for Bayside Chili's. On May 18, the restaurant was cited for having 4 critical violations and 2 non-critical violations by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations. Among the violations: critical buildup of slime in an ice machine, encrusted material on a can opener and--this is scary considering how typhoid is spread--a handwash sink not accessible to employee use at all times. Most of the violations, however, including the sink accessibility, were corrected while inspectors were present.