The Montgomery County Office of Public Health announced today the temporary closure of Gino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in West Norriton in relation to a Hepatitis A Virus outbreak in the county. The restaurant will be closed until further notice while the investigation continues.
According to the notice, thus far, 11 total cases are under investigation, with nine confirmed cases of Hepatitis A and two potential cases of Hepatitis A. Of the nine confirmed cases, seven people were hospitalized. To date, one death is confirmed and one additional death is under investigation.
Per standard public health protocols, the county’s Office of Public Health coordinated with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to issue a health advisory on Wednesday. As a result, the county’s Office of Public Health continues to receive additional information to support its investigation and identify additional potential cases. The investigation conducted to date suggests the exposure occurred in late November and no longer presents a risk. However, an investigation into additional probable cases resulting from the health advisory associated with this outbreak is underway. In the interest of public health, the restaurant has been shut down until further notice.
The source of the outbreak remains under investigation. Anyone experiencing symptoms of Hepatitis A should contact their doctor.
When the notice was sent out to the media and public on January 6th the county did not disclose the name of the restaurant. Through a source, MoreThanTheCurve.com was able to fairly quickly learn the name and location of the restaurant. Since it was outside our coverage area, we decided to not cover it. However, we did follow up with the county and ask what the policy was about releasing the name. When the county responded, we received the notice with the name. We are now covering it because we received several inquiries from readers on whether or not the restaurant was local.
Below is medical information provided by the county:
Not everyone with Hepatitis A has symptoms. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children. If symptoms develop, they usually appear two to seven weeks (15-50 days), an average of 28-30 days after infection. Symptoms usually last less than two months, although some people can be ill for as long as six months.
If symptoms develop, they can include:
- Yellow skin or eyes
- Not wanting to eat
- Upset stomach
- Throwing up
- Stomach pain
- Dark urine or light-colored stools
- Joint pain
- Feeling tired
Many people, especially children, have no symptoms but can still spread the infection. In addition, a person can transmit Hepatitis A to others up to two weeks before symptoms appear.
ABOUT HEPATITIS A
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable, liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) ranging in severity from mild infection lasting a few weeks to severe disease lasting several months. Hepatitis A usually spreads through close, personal contact with an infected person or when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks that are contaminated by small amounts of stool (feces) from an infected person. A person infected with hepatitis A can transmit the disease to other people even if he or she does not have any symptoms of the disease.
PREVENTION OF HEPATITIS A
The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is through vaccination with the Hepatitis A vaccine. To get the full benefit of the Hepatitis A vaccine, more than one shot is needed. The number and timing of these shots depends on the type of vaccine you are given. Practicing good hand hygiene—including thoroughly washing hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food—plays an important role in preventing the spread of Hepatitis A.
For a full overview of Hepatitis A, visit the CDC website.