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Worker at Destiny's restaurant may have exposed customers to Hepatitis A

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A new case of Hepatitis A has been confirmed by the Erie County Health Department. The case is tied to a restaurant worker at Destiny's on Fillmore Avenue in Buffalo.

The worker, who handles food at Destiny's, was identified following laboratory testing, interviews and a restaurant inspection. The owner was advised to send staff reporting Hepatitis A-related symptoms for medical evaluation before returning to work. Restaurant employees have since been vaccinated.

Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein says Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection. She says the virus can cause a variety of symptoms.   

"It can range from no symptoms at all, which we usually see in young children who are infected with Hepatitis A, to a mild illness lasting a few weeks, to a severe illness that can last several months. Although rare, people can become very ill and require hospitalization and some people can die of complications of a Hepatitis A infection," Burstein said.

Burstein says local cases of Hepatitis A used to be rare, but so far this year there have been six reported cases.

The health department is advising anyone who ate at or ordered takeout from Destiny's between February 27 and Monday March 11 receive a vaccine. Free vaccine clinics will be held Wednesday and Thursday this week from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Elim Christian Fellowship on Fillmore Avenue. 

Patrons who ate at Destiny's between Feb. 9 and Feb. 26 may have been exposed, but are past the time at which a vaccine will help prevent infection. Those diners are encouraged to monitor themselves for symptoms for 50 days after consuming their food.

Destiny’s will be subject to additional inspections over the coming weeks and is said to be complying with health department recommendations.