Restaurant Worker Confirmed for Hepatitis A Virus; Dine-in Patrons during Specific Time Frame May Have Been Exposed

Press Release header

MEDIA RELEASE

From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale Burstein

March 22, 2015                                

CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925

 POLONCARZ, BURSTEIN ANNOUNCE PUBLIC HEALTH CLINICS TO PREVENT HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK

Confirmed Case of Hepatitis A in Local Restaurant Worker; Low Risk that Patrons during Specific March Time Frame May Have Been Exposed

County Executive, Health Commissioner Outline Precautionary Public Health Clinics for Response

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein to announce two precautionary public health clinics being held by the Erie County Department of Health (“ECDOH”) in response to the recent identification of the hepatitis A virus in a local restaurant worker, a server at Casa di Pizza on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. The point-of-distribution (“POD”) clinics will allow ECDOH to provide post-exposure prophylaxis (“PEP”) to prevent infection to individuals who may have been exposed.

“The county is activating these response clinics to ensure any dining room patron who may have been exposed to hepatitis A can speak to qualified health care professionals about their chance of being infected and receive an immunization shot if necessary. It is another example of how our Department of Health safeguards the public’s health,” said Poloncarz. “While the risk of transmission is low, anyone who may have dined at the restaurant during the time in question should check their immunization status and come to the clinics if necessary.”

Dine-in patrons of Casa-di-Pizza during a specific time frame may have been exposed to hepatitis A virus,” stated Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health. “Customers in the restaurant or banquet rooms are considered potentially exposed, not individuals who ordered take-out food or consumed food or drink from the bar. The risk of actually acquiring a hepatitis A infection from consuming food or drink at Casa-di-Pizza is extremely low,” emphasized Dr. Burstein. “Persons who have already completed the hepatitis A vaccine series are not at risk of developing hepatitis A virus infection from this potential exposure.”

 Persons Who Dined in & Consumed Food/Drink

from Casa-di-Pizza

--only on the dates  below--

are Candidates for Hepatitis A Vaccine or Immune Globulin    

Monday 

March 9, 2015

Tuesday

March 10, 2015

Wednesday

March 11, 2015

Thursday

March 12, 2015

Friday

March 13, 2015

Saturday

March 14, 2015

Sunday

March 15, 2015

Monday

March 16, 2015

Tuesday

March 17, 2015

Wednesday

March 18, 2015

Thursday

March 19, 2015

 

 

ONLY persons who consumed food/drink within the Casa-di-Pizza restaurant are affected.

NO take-out orders or bar food/drink were at risk.

The Hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin is only effective within two weeks of exposure to the virus. Patrons who ate in Casa-di-Pizza restaurant or banquet room on the specified dates (and have not been previously vaccinated against hepatitis A) should receive the hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin as soon as possible.

Point of Distribution Clinics

Monday, March 23, 2015         12 pm (noon) – 8:00 pm

Tuesday, March 24, 2015        8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Buffalo Niagara Convention Center

                                         153 Franklin Street, Buffalo

Clinic Pre-registration is encouraged at  https://apps.health.ny.gov/doh2/applinks/cdmspr/?eventCountyID=15 or attendees should bring their drivers’ license.

For additional information about hepatitis A and the POD Clinics, residents can contact the Erie County Information Line at 716-858-2929 beginning at 9 AM on Monday, March 23rd or visit http://www2.erie.gov/ .

PEP refers to trying to prevent or treat a disease after someone is exposed. Depending upon an individual’s age and health status, PEP with either hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin is indicated. Hepatitis A vaccine is administered via an injection in the arm and immune globulin is generally administered into a large muscle mass such as the upper leg or hip area.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. Hepatitis A appears only as an acute or a newly occurring infection and does not become a chronic disease. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter – even in microscopic amounts – from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces, or stool, of an infected person. It can be spread by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with the virus.

Hepatitis A signs and symptoms typically do not appear until the individual has had the virus for a few weeks. These symptoms can be similar to those of a “flu-like” illness and may include fatigue, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, low-grade fever, abdominal pain or discomfort, dark urine, joint pain, clay-colored bowel movements, and yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).

“The health risk to the citizens of Erie County is very low,” concluded Burstein. “We are taking these actions with an abundance of caution to ensure the public health safety of our residents.”

For more information:

Erie County Department of Health - www.erie.gov/health

New York State Department of Health

http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/hepatitis/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/A/aFAQ.htm

  Vaccine Information Sheet (“VIS”)

 http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/hep-a.html

Mayo Clinic

 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hepatitis-a/basics/definition/con-20022163

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