MONROE, N.C. -- At least 12 people developed a gastrointestinal illness after visiting a Union County Dunkin' Donuts, according to the Department of Human Services.

The Union County Division of Public Health says the gastrointestinal illnesses were first reported to have started on February 10th. Officials are investigating the location at 2570 West Roosevelt in Monroe.

The victims symptoms include diarrhea, cramping, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.

Sick employees have been ordered to stay away from work until they ve been free of symptoms for 24 hours. According to health officials, the exact cause has not been determined and an investigation is underway.

Meanwhile, the Dunkin' Donuts remained open on Saturday.

In a statement to NBCCharlotte, Dunkin' Donuts expressed the following:

The health and safety of our customers and crew members are a top priority at Dunkin' Donuts. We take the Union County Department of Human Services Division of Public Health assessment very seriously.

We have been in touch with the franchise owner of the Monroe restaurant and we have also sent a certified manager to inspect the location to ensure that all appropriate Dunkin' Donuts food safety guidelines are being followed.

Customers like Richard Strunk said he had not heard about the outbreak of illness until he was told by NBC Charlotte reporter Rad Berky.

He and his wife changed their minds about going in.

We were, he said. But now we're not.

Desire Strunk said, It makes me not want to come here.

Anyone showing symptoms, and has either eaten at the location or had close contact with an employee since Jan. 31 should see a doctor and call Union County Division of Public Health at 704-296-4813.

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