July 16, 2004
"It was a chicken wrap that got her," George Muentzer said yesterday. "She really enjoyed it. Until a couple of hours later."
Vicki Muentzer, a 46-year-old security officer for Wilkinsburg schools, stopped at the Sheetz MTO deli counter in North Huntingdon a week ago Wednesday on her way home to Jeannette. She bought a chicken wrap sandwich, her husband said, and declared it delicious.
"I'd just had pizza, so I didn't eat any," he said. "Thank God."
Three hours later, Vicki told her husband "something isn't [lying] right in my stomach."
Vicki spent the next day and a half in the bathroom, her husband said, dealing with classic salmonella symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headaches.
Both Muentzers are emergency medical technicians. They knew how to treat the symptoms, so they didn't go to the hospital. Vicki recovered in time for interviews by the state Department of Health about the salmonella outbreak that has affected dozens of Sheetz customers. She's back on her feet now.
The Muentzers' local Sheetz store is on Route 30 near the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Irwin interchange. It's a busy, friendly place, and at lunchtime yesterday its parking lot was buzzing as usual.
Pittsburgh resident John Rice stood at an electronic touch-pad at the deli counter and punched in his sandwich order.
"I heard about the food poisoning, but I still have to eat," he said. "I'm not afraid. I think the cars out there are a lot more dangerous to me than the tomatoes in here."
But Jonathan Walker, a roofer from Connellsville working on a nearby site, said he brought his own lunch today.
"We come over here for lunch a lot, and just yesterday I had an Italian hoagie here. I feel fine," Walker said. "But I'm going to pass on it for a couple of days, now that I know. Just to be sure."
Vicki Muentzer won't be back any time soon, her husband said.
"I told her she isn't allowed to eat there anymore," he said. "Once is enough for both of us."