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Restaurant worker in Niagara County tests positive for Hepatitis A

Posted at 11:18 AM, Dec 04, 2019

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — A restaurant employee in Niagara County has tested positive for Hepatitis A.

The Niagara County Department of Health announced Wednesday morning that an employee who handles food at the Taco Bell in Niagara Falls, at Niagara Falls Boulevard and 73rd Street, contracted the virus.

It launched an investigation into the matter on Tuesday after receiving notification of the suspected case. It included laboratory testing, interviews and a restaurant inspection. Additional inspections are forthcoming, officials said.

The health department said Taco Bell is complying with all recommendations. The establishment has been notified of the potential exposure and the manager has sent the sick employee home, officials said. The manager was also advised to send any staff reporting Hepatitis A virus-related symptoms for medical evaluation before returning to work. Employees of the restaurant will be offered post exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

If you visited this Taco Bell between November 21 and December 1 and dined-in, picked-up food and/or used the restroom, you are urged to get vaccinated for Hepatitis A. You're also urged to do so if you got food delivered from this location in that time frame.

You can get the free vaccine at the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building in Niagara Falls on Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The address is 3001 Ninth Street. Pre-registration may be completed prior to arrival by clicking here and looking for the pre-registration link at the top.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A virus can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

The disease is rarely fatal and most people recover in a few weeks without any complications.

Wednesday afternoon, a Taco Bell representative released a statement on the incident - ”When our franchisee of this Niagara Falls, NY restaurant learned that one of the team members was diagnosed, they immediately started working in lock step with Taco Bell and health officials to protect the health of employees and customers. The restaurant was thoroughly sanitized and all team members will be offered vaccinations.”