/State: Middletown restaurant customers may have been exposed to hepatitis A – The News Journal

State: Middletown restaurant customers may have been exposed to hepatitis A – The News Journal


It’s a virus that can feel like the flu. See how to prevent from getting it.
Terry DeMio, tdemio@enquirer.com

Delaware public health officials are warning patrons of the Buffalo Wild Wings in Middletown that they may have been exposed to hepatitis A at the restaurant between March 31 and April 10.

The dates cover much of March Madness and the NCAA Basketball Tournament, an event that draws a lot of customers at the sports bar and grill.

When told Wednesday about the possible exposures, the restaurant voluntarily closed for cleaning and sanitization before reopening Thursday.

The state did not say whether the infection was from an employee or customer. A spokeswoman said that privacy laws prevent them from naming the source of the infection or the source’s status.

SOURCE REVEALED:Buffalo Wild Wings confirms employee infected

WHAT iS HEPATITIS A:Here’s what you need to know

Hepatitis A is a viral infection that hits the liver. It spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.

The virus can spread at a restaurant when an infected person does not wash his/her hands adequately after using the toilet, prepares food or shares utensils with others while eating.

Symptoms may include loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, yellowing of the skin of the eyes, and brown-colored urine and light-colored stools. They usually appear 15 to 50 days after exposure.

If anyone develops these symptoms, they should stay at home and contact their health care provider immediately.

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. Usually, rest, fluids and good nutrition are prescribed. Those with hepatitis A should avoid drugs and alcohol because that can badly affect the liver as it’s fighting the virus.

Public health officials emphasized that it’s “relatively rare” for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis at a restaurant.

Even so, they advise anyone who consumed food or drink at the Middletown Buffalo Wild Wings location between March 31 and April 10 to consider contacting their health care provider for further guidance, especially those who have symptoms, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.

Staff of the food establishment have been advised to contact their health care provider to receive post-exposure prophylaxis, which may include the hepatitis A vaccine or a shot of immune globulin to prevent severe illness. 

Those who do not have a primary health care provider should visit a local walk-in medical center (not an emergency room), and those who are uninsured or underinsured should contact one of the following DPH health clinics at:

  • Porter State Service Center, 509 W. 8th St., Wilmington. 302-777-2860
  • Hudson State Service Center, 501 Ogletown Road, Newark. 302-283-7587, option 2
  • Kent County Health Unit, River Road, Dover. 302-857-5140
  • Sussex County Health Unit, 544. S. Bedford St., Georgetown. 302-515-3220

For more information, call the Division of Publish Health Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 302-744-4990 or 1-800-282-8672.

Contact Betsy Price at 302-324-2884 or beprice@delawareonline.com.


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