BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - A food service worker infected with Hepatitis A worked at two locations in Erie County, possibly exposing customers to the highly contagious virus.
According to the Erie County Health Department, the food handler with a confirmed case of Hepatitis A worked at Al-e-oops Restaurant in Lancaster and Brookdale Williamsville Senior Living Community.
If customers ate food -- dine in or takeout -- at Al-e-oops on January 20th - 23rd or January 27th - 30th, they may have been exposed. Officials predict 311 people have been exposed.
Anyone who ate food at Brookdale from January 16th through January 31st may have been exposed. Officials say 35 residents, 40 staff, and some visitors were possibly exposed.
A Hepatitis A vaccination clinic is scheduled for Wednesday, February 7th from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Bowmansville Fire Station #1 on Main Street in Bowmnasville, N.Y. for concerned people to get tested.
This clinic is only for people possibly exposed to the virus at Al-e-oops from January 27-30. For anyone exposed earlier, the vaccine will not be effective. Health officials advise those individuals to pay close attention to their health the next 50 days.
Anyone possibly exposed at Brookdale is asked to contact the facility to learn more about getting a vaccine at the center.
Dr. Gale Burstein of the Health Department says the health risk to local residents is "very low" and there is no continued risk of exposure at either facility.
More information about people who are eligible for Hep A vaccine. Some exposures too old for vaccine to be effective. Anyone possibly exposed should watch for symptoms. @WKBWpic.twitter.com/T7aCis7RyM
Here are few fast facts about the virus courtesy the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.
What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?
Not everyone has symptoms. If symptoms develop, they usually appear 2 to 6 weeks after infection and can include:
• Fever • Vomiting • Grey-colored • stools Fatigue • Abdominal • pain • Joint pain Loss of appetite • Nausea • Dark urine • Jaundice
Symptoms are more likely to occur in adults than in children. They usually last less than 2 months, although some people can be ill for as long as 6 months.
How is Hepatitis A diagnosed and treated?
A doctor can determine if a person has Hepatitis A by discussing his or her symptoms and taking a blood sample. To treat Hepatitis A, doctors usually recommend rest, adequate nutrition, fluids, and medical monitoring. Some people will need to be hospitalized. It can take a few months before people begin to feel better.
How serious is Hepatitis A?
Most people who get Hepatitis A feel sick for several months, but they usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. Sometimes Hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death, although this is rare and occurs more commonly in people older than 50 and people with other liver diseases.
Al-e-oops Restaurant recently released this statement in response to one of its workers having Hep-A:
“The owners of Al-E-Oops are first concerned for our co-worker and our patrons. We hope and expect that he will recover quickly and fully, and no one else who worked at or visited our restaurant will contract this disease.”
“As our county leaders said, there is only a very small chance that people can catch the illness due to this potential exposure. We have and will continue to cooperate with all health officials. And, as always, we will operate our restaurant to the highest health and safety standards, as we have – without any similar prior incident – since we opened in 1984.”
Reporter Josh Bazan spoke with Brookdale Williamsville Senior Living Community about the allegations:
Spokesperson for Brookdale Senior Living in Williamsville says "no reports" of any residents/staff/visitors experiencing symptoms of Hepatitis A following possible exposure in January. @WKBW