BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Erie County Department of Health says Hepatitis A has been confirmed in a local restaurant employee.
Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein held a conference on Friday, saying that the person who contracted the disease worked for Platinum Pizza on Broadway near Bailey Ave.
This person was in contact with food from Thursday, August 8 through Sunday, Aug. 11
Hepatitis A is a preventable liver disease that is usually spread by consuming contaminated food or water.
It can also be spread through objects that are contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.
Symptoms include, fever, fatique, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, dark urine, joint pain, vomiting, nausea, clay-colored stool and jaundice.
Although there are many symptoms, Hepatitis A sometimes shows no symptoms at all. In rare cases, the disease can be fatal.
In the past couple of years, cases of Hepatitis A have increased across the country.
In Erie County, Burstein says there were 32 new Hepatitis A reported in 2018. So far this year, 18 new cases have been reported.
Despite this, she believes many more cases exist in the local community.
Those who are most at risk for Hepatitis A include the following:
- People with direct contact with someone who has a hepatitis A infection. This can occur up to 2 weeks before the infected person develops symptoms.
- Travelers to countries where Hepatitis A is common, which include most countries outside the United States.
- Men who have sex with men
- People who use drugs (injection and non-injection)
- Homeless individuals
Employees of Platinum Pizza are in the process of getting vaccinated for the disease, which they must do before returning to work.
Erie County is also holding vaccination clinics for anyone who ate there or received food from there between the dates mentioned above.
Those clinics will take place at the Erie County Training and Operations Center at 3359 Broadway in Cheektowaga.
They will run on Aug. 19 and 20 from 1-7 p.m.
A limited shuttle service will be available from the St. John Kanty Church parking lot at 101 Swinburne St. in Buffalo.
Those who go to the clinic are asked to bring a photo ID or driver’s license. Pre-registration can be done here.