BUFFALO, N.Y. — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein announced that a new case of hepatitis A virus surfaced at a local restaurant.
They say an employee who handled food at Destiny's, located at 2383 Fillmore Avenue, was diagnosed with hepatitis A. The restaurant has been closed temporarily for a thorough cleaning.
The owner of Destiny's was notified of the potential exposure and advised to send any staff members with hepatitis A-related symptoms for medical evaluation.
The Erie County Department of Health advises anyone who ate food there between February 27 and March 11 to receive a free hepatitis A vaccine.
That vaccine will be available at Elim Christian Fellowship Church at 70 Chalmers Avenue on Wednesday and Thursday, from 3 to 8 p.m.
In addition to the affected employee, Destiney's was cited for 10 non-critical violations, including: Non-food contact surfaces not cleaned as often as necessary, dry cloths used to wipe food spills from plates/bowls not cleaned properly and garbage/refuse not properly stored, housed or disposed.
Destiny's will be subject to inspections during the coming weeks.
It is the county's sixth case this year, but this is the only one involving someone who handled food that potentially thousands of people ate.
"People may be exposed and just not aware of their exposure. That's why it's important for every to get immunized,"says Dr. Burstein.
February 9 is the important date here. If you ate at Destiny's, or got takeout, from February 9 to the 26, getting the vaccine now won't help you.
If you ate the food from February 27 until March 11, you can get the vaccine for free from the county.
"Depending on when you ate there, there may be nothing you can do. It may be too late. You just have to monitor your health. So, if somebody ate at this restaurant before the period where you can get the vaccine, your best bet is to monitor your health and talk to your doctor," says Poloncarz.
"The restaurant has been extremely cooperative working with our sanitarians, and they've actually been able to correct most of the violations on site," says Dr. Burstein.
Destiny's can reopen once its staff in immunized.
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