Erie County officials are urging anyone who recently ate at Destiny’s on Fillmore in Buffalo to be vaccinated for Hepatitis A after the virus was identified in a worker at the restaurant.

According to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, anyone who at as a dine-in or takeout customer between February 27, 2019 and March 11, 2019 is eligible to recieve a free Hepatitis A vaccine provided by the Erie County Department of Health. The vaccine clinics will be held on March 13 and March 14, from 3 pm to 8pm, at the Elim Christian Fellowship located at 70 Chalmers Avenue in Buffalo.

Officials say people who ate at the restaurant between February 9 and February 26 may have been exposed but will “not benefit from Hepatitis A vaccine to prevent infection from this exposure.” Everyone is encouraged to monitor their health for symptoms for 50 days after consuming food from the establishment.

The Erie County Department of Health has provided the following information on Hepatitis A.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A 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)

• Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from no symptoms at all, to a mild illness lasting a few weeks, to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people.
• Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. This can happen from eating at a restaurant, sharing food or drink, or eating when traveling in one of the many countries outside the United States with a high Hepatitis A infection rate.
• People who are most at risk of Hepatitis A include:

– People with direct contact with someone who has a hepatitis A infection. This can occur up to 2 weeks before the infected person develops any symptoms, so you may not be aware of your exposure at the time.
– Travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common, which include most countries outside the United States. More information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s web site.
– Men who have sexual contact with men,
– People who use drugs, both injection and non-injection drugs, and
– Homeless individuals

People who are considered high risk for exposure to the Hepatitis A virus should get vaccinated as soon as possible to avoid contracting the virus and lessen the spread of the disease. High risk groups include individuals who use illicit drugs, close contacts of illicit drug users, and homeless people.

The Department for Public Health (DPH) is making this recommendation as part of its efforts to respond to the ongoing outbreak of Hepatitis A. Since the outbreak began in August 2017, reported cases continue to rise and have now been recorded in 103 of Kentucky’s 120 counties.

“If you are at-risk of exposure to the Hepatitis A virus, we urge to get vaccinated immediately. Immunizations can be obtained from a healthcare provider, pharmacies, and clinics throughout the state. Local health departments have limited vaccine supply for at-risk individuals who are uninsured,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jeff Howard. “In addition, if you live in a county currently experiencing an outbreak, we also urge you to be vaccinated for Hepatitis A as well as continue to practice regular and thorough hand washing, particularly if you are engaging with any of the high risk groups.”

About 80 percent of cases in the current outbreak are people in the high risk groups. Other priority populations include;

People with direct contact with someone who has Hepatitis A (particularly during their infectious period);
Men who have sexual contact with men; and
People who are at increased risk of complications from Hepatitis A (e.g., people with chronic liver disease).
As of Jan. 26, 3,819 cases have been reported in Kentucky due to the outbreak. A recent year-end review of Kentucky mortality records revealed additional deaths, increasing the total known deaths to 40 associated with the current Hepatitis A outbreak. Counties have reported 1,862 hospitalizations due to Hepatitis A.

To date, 80 counties have reported five or more cases, meaning they meet the threshold for what is considered an outbreak of Hepatitis A virus. Boyd, Carter, Fayette, Floyd, Jefferson, Kenton, Laurel, Madison, and Whitley counties report 100 or more cases associated with the outbreak.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable disease of the liver, which causes inflammation of the liver and affects the organ’s ability to function. Signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A include nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite, fever, fatigue, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), clay-colored bowel movements, dark-colored urine, and abdominal discomfort. Signs and symptoms usually appear 2-4 weeks after exposure, but may occur up to 7 weeks after exposure. Children under 6 years of age with Hepatitis A often show few signs and symptoms.

Hepatitis A virus is found in the stool of infected people, and is usually spread person-to-person when infected people do not properly wash their hands or do not have access to proper sanitation. Transmission typically occurs when a person ingests infected fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts, from contact with contaminated objects, food, or drinks. DPH recommends frequent hand washing, particularly after using the restroom, or before eating, to prevent transmission of hepatitis A and many other common diseases.

To prevent new cases from occurring, DPH has partnered with local public health staff, health care providers, correctional facilities, faith-based organizations, homeless shelters, and substance abuse treatment centers to vaccinate people who are at the highest risk of getting Hepatitis A. People who have had Hepatitis A disease or previously received 2 doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine do not need to be immunized.

“Vaccination of high risk groups is crucial to stopping the outbreak in Kentucky,” added Dr. Howard. “If you or someone you know might be at risk for Hepatitis A, please get vaccinated as soon as possible at your local health department, primary care physician’s office, or local pharmacy. If you suspect you might have Hepatitis A infection or are experiencing symptoms (including, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice/yellowing of the skin and eyes), you should seek medical care immediately.”

Individuals also are advised to contact their local health department or the Reportable Disease program at DPH at (502) 564-3261.

Since 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that all children receive the Hepatitis A vaccine series. DPH recommends children aged 1 to 18 years receive the two-dose Hepatitis A vaccine, as well as at-risk adults. Kentucky now requires all students in kindergarten through 12th grade to have two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine in order to attend school or receive a provisional certificate of immunization.

The Cumberland Valley District Health confirmed on Friday that a McDonald’s employee tested positive for hepatitis A.

The McDonald’s is located on Muddy Gap Road. In a release, health officials said that the employee did not handle food directly and was in a customer service position.

Health officials said the transmission risk to employees and customers at the store is low. However, anyone who ate at the McDonald’s in Manchester between October 30th and November 16th can seek further protection from becoming ill by getting a Hepatitis A vaccination. All employees have been offered the hepatitis A vaccine. The vaccine should be taken within two weeks of possible exposure.

Management voluntarily closed the restaurant on Friday for a thorough cleaning and sanitation. Our reporter on the scene said people were already cleaning inside the building and there is yellow tape surrounding the entire location.

Anyone who consumed food or drinks at McDonald’s in Manchester from October 30th through November 16th is also asked to:

1. Monitor their health for symptoms of hepatitis A infection up to 50 days after exposure.

2. Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.

3. Stay at home and contact their healthcare provider immediately if symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown colored urine, and light-colored stools. Yellowing of the skin or eyes may also appear. People can become ill up to 7 weeks after being exposed to the virus.

Florida: The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County announced Nov. 5 that a positive case of hepatitis A has been identified in a food service worker in St. Pete Beach.

Following lab confirmation on Nov. 1, DOH-Pinellas immediately began conducting an epidemiological investigation and determined the individual worked at Toasted Monkey, 6110 Gulf Blvd., from Oct. 17-28.

DOH says persons who frequented the restaurant on Oct. 17-28, and have not previously been vaccinated for hepatitis A, should be vaccinated. If you have previously received the hepatitis A vaccine you do not need to take additional action. DOH-Pinellas is offering the vaccine at the following locations:

• St. Petersburg, 205 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N.

• Pinellas Park, 6350 76th Ave. N.

• Mid-County, 8751 Ulmerton Road, Largo.

• Clearwater, 310 N. Myrtle Ave.

• Tarpon Springs, 301 S. Disston Ave.

DOH-Pinellas is encouraging all healthcare providers, including hospital emergency departments to stay on high alert and immediately report cases to the Florida Department of Health.

Ohio: Taco Bell Corporation has confirmed  that an employee at the Elm Road location in Warren has tested positive for hepatitis A. So far there’s only been one confirmed case — but a handful of other employees were showing symptoms.

Taco Bell Corporation issued the following statement:

As soon as the operator of this Warren, Ohio location learned that a team member tested positive for the hepatitis A virus, the franchisee began working immediately with Taco Bell and local health officials. All team members currently working at this restaurant have been offered vaccinations, and the restaurant was thoroughly sanitized.”

Deputy Health Commissioner of the Warren Health District Robert Pinti says he was informed Saturday about an employee testing positive for Hepatitis A.

“Our understanding is eight people were symptomatic having symptoms of Hepatitis A. They’ve received the vaccine also,” Pinti said.

The team member exposed to the virus is on leave and will not return until they are cleared by medical professionals, according to a spokesperson from Taco Bell.

“In this particular case in a restaurant setting, if that food prep handler is doing the right thing and keeping their hands clean, using their gloves, changing their gloves, washing their hands it would be very difficult to pass,” Pinti said.

Taco Bell says all employees working at this location have been offered vaccinations and the restaurant was thoroughly sanitized.

Ohio: People who ate at Cracker Barrel between Oct. 15-21 are being advised to consider getting the hepatitis A vaccine after a food service worker there tested positive for the viral infection.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department made the announcement Monday morning in a joint press release with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. An assessment by the health department determined the risk of infection was low, the release says.

The Mineral Wells restaurant voluntarily closed late Friday afternoon once test results confirming the employee had tested positive for hepatitis A were received, said Carrie Brainard, public information specialist for the health department. The facility was cleaned and sanitized overnight and reopened early Saturday morning following a health department inspection, she said.

“At Cracker Barrel, nothing is more important to us than the health and well-being of our guests and employees,” Cracker Barrel Old Country Store spokeswoman Heidi Pearce said in the release. “We are also working in collaboration with the Health Department to arrange for a clinic to vaccinate all employees.”

The investigation is related to the multistate outbreak of hepatitis A. An infected worker was reported at the Taco Bell in Belpre this spring.

Brainard said the Cracker Barrel employee is the first case involving a food worker reported in the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department’s eight-county service area.

“There have been no known cases of hepatitis A being passed from a food worker to a patron” in West Virginia, she said.

Still, the health department recommends people who have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A and ate at the restaurant during the period in question consider getting the vaccine. The release emphasizes this should be done “not more than two weeks from the potential exposure to help prevent infection.”

A new case of hepatitis A has been diagnosed in a Frankfort food worker, the Franklin County Health Department reports.

The infected individual worked at the KFC located on at 1229 US 127 between Oct. 22 and Oct. 25.

The health department wants to remind the public that it’s rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler. However, for anyone who consumed food or drink at that KFC location during that time should receive a vaccination by Nov. 8.

Vaccinations are being administered at the Franklin County Health Department located at 100 Glenns Creek Road on the following dates and times:

Monday-Tuesday: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Wednesday: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Thursday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Anyone who ate there during that time frame should monitor their health for symptoms up to 50 days after exposure.

Careful hand washing, including under the fingernails, with soap and water, along with vaccination of anyone at risk of infection, will prevent the spread of this disease.

Since August 1, 2017, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) has identified over 2,000 cases of acute hepatitis A, a liver disease caused by hepatitis A virus. An increase in cases since Aug. 1, 2017, primarily among the homeless and drug users, prompted declaration of a statewide outbreak in Nov. 2017. Viral sequencing has linked several outbreak-associated cases in Kentucky with outbreaks in California and Utah.

DPH is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments to provide guidance and education to health professionals and at-risk populations. Treatment for acute hepatitis A generally involves supportive care, with specific complications treated as appropriate. Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease. For more information on Kentucky’s hepatitis A outbreak please visit the Hepatitis A Outbreak page.

Counts as of October 20, 2018:

Total Outbreak: 2,275
Hospitalizations: 1209
Deaths: 14

The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (DOH-Pinellas) is recommending prevention and vaccination to combat a rise in hepatitis A cases in the county as well as in nearby areas of the state.

As of Oct. 22, 58 cases have been reported in Pinellas and more than 180 in Florida. Similar increases have been reported in other states.

“We are on track to report the highest number of hepatitis A cases since 2005,” said DOH-Pinellas Director Dr. Ulyee Choe. “We have enhanced our public health efforts in encouraging prevention to reduce new cases, but those at risk need to know that there’s an effective vaccine that protects them from this disease.”

As part of its public health mission, DOH-Pinellas is offering the two-dose hepatitis A vaccine at no cost to adults and children. The usual $70.66 cost for adults is waived to remove the barrier of cost; vaccines are always provided at no cost to children and teens through the age of 18. No appointments are needed to get the vaccine at these centers:

  • St. Petersburg: 205 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N.
  • Pinellas Park: 6350 76th Ave. N.
  • Mid-County (Largo): 8751 Ulmerton Rd.
  • Clearwater: 310 N. Myrtle Ave.
  • Tarpon Springs: 301 S. Disston Ave.

Hepatitis A is spread person-to-person via feces contaminated with its virus. For example, food prepared by an infected person who doesn’t practice proper hygiene in handwashing could sicken others.

Symptoms include fever, dark urine, yellow-tinged skin or eyes, fatigue and gastric issues. It causes damage to the liver, especially among those who already have liver disease.

Good hygiene to prevent the spread of hepatitis A—washing hands well after a bathroom visit and after changing diapers—lessens the chance that fecal contamination will spread the disease in those who have it. Vaccination is the best protection for those at risk.

Northeast Arkansas continues to have an ongoing hepatitis A (hep A) outbreak. Hep A is a contagious liver disease that can be prevented by a vaccination. The ADH is warning of a possible hep A exposure after an employee of Arkansas State University (ASU) food service and volunteer at Salvation Army has tested positive for the virus.

Anyone who ate at the ASU Student Center or the Salvation Army at 800 Cate Avenue in Jonesboro from Oct. 13 to Oct. 24 should seek vaccination immediately if they have never been vaccinated against hep A or are unsure of their vaccination status. There are no specific treatments once a person gets hep A. Illness can be prevented even after exposure by getting the vaccine or medicine called immune globulin. This medicine contains antibodies to hep A and works best if given within two weeks of exposure to the virus.

Vaccine will be available Thursday Oct. 25 and Friday Oct. 26 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Craighead County Local Health Unit in Jonesboro at 611 E. Washington Ave. Vaccine will also be available at the ASU Reng Student Center (3rd floor River Rooms) located at Aggie Circle on campus in Jonesboro from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29 and Tuesday, Oct. 30. The vaccine will be provided to the public at no cost. People should bring their insurance card and driver’s license if they have one. Students who will are unable to attend the clinics listed above because they are traveling for the weekend may be able to visit a Local Health Unit in another county. Those visiting Local Health Units in other counties should call ahead to ensure vaccine is available. Local Health Unit listing can be found at https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/health-units.

Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek care immediately. Typical symptoms of hep A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.

Risk of getting hep A in a food service setting is low. Restaurants must follow ADH protocols for handwashing and glove use, and employees are not to return to work until they are no longer sick. Hep A is being spread in this outbreak primarily through close contacts in the community, not through eating at restaurants.

Since February, 178 cases of hep A have been reported as part of an outbreak in Northeast Arkansas, including one death. Greene County has had the most cases, although there have been cases in Arkansas, Clay, Cleburne, Craighead, Independence, Lawrence, Lee, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett, and Randolph counties.

High priority groups for getting the hep A vaccine include:

  • Anyone who has had close contact with someone who has hep A
  • Food workers
  • People who use drugs, whether injected or not
  • People experiencing homelessness, transient, or unstable housing
  • People who have been recently incarcerated

The hep A vaccine is safe and effective. Hep A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hep A virus, which is a different virus from the viruses that cause hep B or hep C. It is usually spread when a person ingests tiny amounts of fecal matter from contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by the feces (stool) of an infected person.

A person can transmit the virus to others up to two weeks before and one week after symptoms appear. If infected, most people will develop symptoms three to four weeks after exposure; however, the virus can cause illness anytime from two to seven weeks after exposure. Many people, especially children, may have no symptoms. Almost all people who get hep A recover completely and do not have any lasting liver damage, although they may feel sick for months.

Older people typically have more severe symptoms. Other risk factors for having more severe symptoms of hep A include having other infections or chronic diseases like hep B or hep C, HIV/AIDS, or diabetes. Up to one in three adults are typically hospitalized. Death due to hep A is rare, but is more likely in patients with other liver diseases (like hep B or hep C).

A preliminary settlement of up to $4,500,000.00 has been reached in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of those who were exposed to hepatitis A related to eating at Genki Sushi restaurants in Hawaii in 2016, but who did not become ill with hepatitis A. The class is represented by Seattle based, Marler Clark, the nation’s food safety law firm, Perkin and Faria, and Starn, O’Toole, Marcus, and Fisher, respected Hawaii firms.  See www.HawaiiHepA.com 

Genki-Stipulation for Order Stipulating Class filed 10.12.18

Genki-Order Approving Stipulation for Class Certification filed 10.12.18

Qualified class members are entitled to receive up to either $350, $250, or $150 by submitting a claim form available at www.HawaiiHepA.com or by calling 1-800-532-9250.

The hepatitis A outbreak:

On August 15, 2016, the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) identified raw scallops served at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai as a likely source of an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak. The product of concern was identified to be Sea Port Bay Scallops that originated in the Philippines and were distributed by Koha Oriental Foods.

The class is defined as follows:

All persons who: (1) as a result of the 2016 Hepatitis A Outbreak infections linked to consuming food at thirteen Genki Sushi restaurants located on the islands of Oahu, Kauai, and Maui, were exposed to the hepatitis A virus (“HAV”) through one of three exposure-mechanisms (defined in the Exposure Subclasses), but did not become infected, and (2) as a result of such exposure, after learning of the requirement of treatment from an announcement of public health officials or a medical professional, obtained preventative medical treatment within 14 days of exposure, such as receiving immune globulin (“IG”), HAV vaccine, or blood test.

The preliminary settlement covers three subclasses:

Exposure Subclass 1 – up to $350: All Class Members who were in contact with one of the 292 persons who the Hawai’i Department of Health identified as infected with HAV as part of the 2016 Hepatitis A Outbreak. A contact is defined as:

  • All household members of one of the 292 persons
  • All sexual contacts with one of the 292 persons
  • Anyone sharing illicit drugs with one of the 292 persons
  • Anyone sharing food or eating or drinking utensils with one of the 292 persons
  • Anyone consuming ready-to-eat foods prepared by one of the 292 persons

Exposure Subclass 2 – up to $250: All Class Members who as a result of consuming food on or between August 1 to August 16, 2016, were exposed to HAV at one of the thirteen Genki Sushi restaurants located on the islands of Oahu, Kauai, and Maui, implicated in the summer 2016 outbreak of HAV.

Exposure Subclass 3 – up to $150: All Class Members who as a result of consumption of food or drink from one or more of the Secondary Establishments identified below, where an employee infected as part of the 2016 Hepatitis A Outbreak (one of the 292 persons) was found to have worked on the Identified Dates, were exposed as a result of consuming food or drink at the Secondary Establishment during one or more of the Identified Dates. The Secondary Establishments and Identified Dates are as follows:

  • Baskin Robbins located at Waikele Center, HI 96797: June 30 and July 1, 2, 2016;
  • Taco Bell located at 94-790 Uke’e St., Waipahu, HI 96797: July 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 2016;
  • Sushi Shiono located at 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Waikoloa, HI 96738: July 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 2016;
  • Chili’s Grill & Bar located at 590 Farrington Hwy, Kapoelei, HI 96707: July 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 2016;
  • Twelve Hawaiian Airlines flights (24) flight 118 on July 24; (25) flight 117 on July 24; (26) flight 382 on July 24; (27) flight 383 on July 24; (28) flight 396 on July 24; (29) flight 365 on July 24; (30) flight 273 on July 25; (31) flight 68 on July 25; (32) flight 65 on July 25; (33) flight 147 on July 26;; (36) flight 18 on August 10; and (37) flight 17 on August 12, 2016;
  • Tamashiro Market located at 802 N. King St., Honolulu, HI 96817: July 23, 2016;
  • Papa John’s located at 94-1012 Waipahu St., Waipahu, HI 96797: August 2, 2016;
  • New Lin Fong Bakery located at 1132 Maunakea St., Honolulu, HI 96817: July 27, 29, 30, and August 1, 3, 5, 6, 2016;
  • Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, located at 801 Kaheka St., Honolulu, HI 96814: and August 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 2016;
  • Kipapa Elementary School located at 95-76 Kipapa Dr., Mililani, HI 96789: August 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 2016;
  • Zippy’s Restaurant located at 950 Kamokila Blvd., Kapolei, HI 96707: August 14, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 2016;
  • Harbor Restaurant at Pier 38 located at 1133 North Nimitz Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96817: August 30-31 and September 1- 12, 2016;
  • Ohana Seafood at Sam’s Club located at 1000 Kamehameha Hwy., Pearl City, HI 96782: September 1- 11, 2016;
  • Chart House Restaurant located at 1765 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu, HI 96815: September 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 2016; and
  • McDonald’s Restaurant located at 4618 Kilauea Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816: October 5, 7, 11, 2016.

Key dates for claimants to be aware of:

On October 15, 2018, the Notice Company will establish a website for this Settlement at www.HawaiiHepA.com which will include electronic copies of the Claim form, the Notice of Settlement for publication, the Preliminary Approval Order, and other information pertaining to the Settlement.

Beginning on or promptly after October 15, 2018, the Notice Company shall commence an online or social media campaign, to include Facebook, Instagram, or such other social media as the Notice Company deems appropriate, to disseminate notice of the Settlement

Beginning on or promptly after October 15, 2018, the Notice Company shall cause the Notice of Settlement for publication to be published once a week for two consecutive weeks in the Honolulu Star Advertiser on Oahu, Hawai’i, and Maui as a paid legal advertisement

The deadline for Class Members to request exclusion from the Class, to file objections to the Settlement, or to submit a Claim Form, shall be November 29, 2018.

A Final Approval Hearing shall be held on December 11, 2018 in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, Hawaiii, before the Honorable Judge James H. Ashford for the purpose of determining: (a) whether the proposed settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and should be finally approved by the Court; and (b) whether to issue a final judgment order.