FIRST ON 3: Carolina Beach McDonald’s workers say coworker has TB


CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — The McDonald’s on Pleasure Island is a very popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The bad news is employees at this location could be sick.

WWAY has learned a foreign exchange student working at the restaurant may have tuberculosis. Now all employees there are being checked for the disease.

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This McDonald’s is a common eat spot for locals and tourists coming in and out of Carolina Beach. According to multiple employees at this location there is more than food preparation going on in the back of the restaurant.

One employee told us that another worker here tested positive for tuberculosis-like symptoms, and that managers took employees in the back and threatened them if they talked about it.

When we went to find out more we got kicked off the property. One worker told us they could not confirm the details, but the issue was confirmed by another McDonald’s employee.

We also saw other employees piling into this taxi, which sources tell us was heading to the health department, where the workers were tested for TB.

A New Hanover County Health Department representative would not confirm or deny the issue, but did say that tuberculosis could not be passed through the handling of food meaning that it is not a public risk at this time.

“There is no risk in food handling with tuberculosis, because it’s spread strictly respiratory to respiratory,” New Hanover County Personal Health Services Manager Janet Smithy said. “You would have to inhale the germ not eat something that had the germ on it, so it’s not like a gastrointestinal bug.”

The local McDonald’s ownership group is McAnderson Inc. A company representative released this statement to us: “We’re working with the New Hanover Health Department on a situation surrounding an individual at that location.”

The company then directed us to the Health Department with any other questions.

“A person that is suspected to have TB, no matter where they live or where they work, what we do is go ahead and start an investigation,” Smithy said. “It is required that we do that because TB symptoms can also turn out to be something else.”

The Health Department said it could take a couple of weeks to get tests results.

Smithy also said you can carry tuberculosis and not be contagious. That’s why the Health Department says at this point there is no public risk.

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