Olive Garden Employees In Gastonia Being Tested For Tuberculosis

GASTONIA, N.C. — People who work at an Olive Garden in Gastonia are being tested for tuberculosis after an employee tested positive, according to the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services.

DHHS is reaching out to the employee’s family members and others who may have come in contact with the employee, including coworkers at a local, Olive Garden.

Health officials say there is low risk of exposure to the public as tuberculosis is spread through direct contact for an extended period of time and cannot be spread through prepared food and drinks.

They also say a small number of persons is likely to have been exposed and no one is at immediate risk of any health problems.

TB is a disease that generally develops over weeks to months, and it is completely curable with medications.

Gaston DHHS is working closely with state TB Control experts, as well as Olive Garden management. There is no public health threat at this time.

“We are fortunate that tuberculosis is hard to catch even when exposed to somebody with active tuberculosis. Serious high-risk exposure is considered for people with close prolonged closed in contact with a person with active tuberculosis, like family members who live in the same house or coworkers. Casual contact at a store or in a restaurant is not considered a high risk exposure.” Dr. Harish Marisiddaiah, a local Infectious Disease Specialist, said.

Marisiddaiah has been servicing Gaston County for over 20 years and is board-certified in infectious disease.

People who are sick with TB have a variety of symptoms, such as a persistent cough, fever, poor appetite, coughing up blood, chest pain and others.

We’ll have more on this developing story.