Publisher’s Platform: Why Didn’t the Health Department Report the Deadly Hepatitis A Outbreak Earlier?


Unanswered questions:

  • If the exposure at the restaurant happened at the end of November 2021, why was the public not alerted until January 2022?
  • For those who got sick, was there a common day or days that they ate out?
  • For those who got sick, was there a common food eaten at the restaurant? – Hepatitis A outbreaks have been linked to a variety of food products, including green onions, berries, seafood and frozen berries.
  • Are all the workers who worked during the exposure period taken into account and did any of them fall ill in the week following the exposure period? – Hepatitis A outbreaks have been linked to sick food service workers in the very recent past – Mendham NJ Golf and Country Club and Roanoke VA Famous Anthony’s Restaurant.

NBC10 Philadelphia reports that health officials have confirmed a third death in a hepatitis A outbreak in Montgomery County linked to Gino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in West Norriton. They also authorized the reopening of the restaurant which had been closed due to the epidemic.

The Montgomery County Office of Public Health (MCOPH) first announced there was an outbreak on January 5. On Thursday, they revealed there had been 10 confirmed cases of the virus in the county, including three fatalities. The seven survivors were hospitalized but were later released.

Officials also say they are investigating three other possible cases in the outbreak.

In interviews, health officials confirmed that the initial exposure occurred in late November, but there was no longer a risk to the public.

After conducting a reopening inspection on Thursday, MCOPH’s Field Environmental Services Division also lifted the closure of Gino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in West Norriton.

The restaurant had been closed since January 7 due to the epidemic. The company denied any involvement in the outbreak and claimed to have been the victim of false rumours.

Health officials said they inspected the kitchen, dining room, waiting stations, restrooms and all food and non-food contact surfaces inside the restaurant while insisting on the requirement proper and thorough hand washing and use of gloves/utensils when handling food. The restaurant owner also told health officials that all potential food sources on the premises had been eliminated before reopening.

“The restaurant owner has provided a list of restaurant employees working during the exposure period who are expected to return to the restaurant after reopening,” an MCOPH spokesperson wrote. “All employees on the list have been voluntarily tested for hepatitis A and have been offered the hepatitis A vaccination.”

A source told NBC10 that all Gino workers have been tested and vaccinated for hepatitis A and so far there have been no positive tests among employees.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) which is found in the stool and blood of infected people, according to the CDC. It is also very contagious.

“It is a fecal or oral route. And that means there’s a small amount of feces or poo on a substance that’s ingested and that’s how you get hepatitis A,” Dr. Darren Mareiniss of Einstein Health told NBC10.

Symptoms of hepatitis A can last up to two months and include fatigue, nausea, stomach pain and jaundice, although most people with the virus do not have long-term illness. duration, according to the CDC. Vaccination is the best way to prevent the virus.

“The majority of patients with hepatitis A do not progress to fulminant disease,” Dr. Mareiniss said. “That means they don’t progress to liver failure. It’s less than one percent, we believe. So many people have milder symptoms and they are self-limiting. He leaves.

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