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Hundreds of restaurant customers possibly exposed to Hep A virus

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

SALT LAKE CITY – Health officials say an employee at a very popular restaurant may have exposed hundreds of customers to a dangerous virus.  They say the worker had Hepatitis A, and they’re concerned the virus might have spread.

The potential exposure is limited to just the downtown location of the New Yorker restaurant between July 25th and August 15th.  Health officials say, during that time, up to 650 people might have had contact with food or drinks that were handled by the employee in question.

“During our investigations, we found out that, potentially, the food or the beverages could have been contaminated, but, as I said, I think the risk is very low,” says Dr. Dagmar Vitek, Salt Lake County Health Department Director.

She says the restaurant is fully complying with clean-up requirements, and hasn’t had any problems like this in the past.

”It can happen to anybody.  This restaurant, as far as I know, has a very good record,” she says.

If anyone has been exposed to the virus, Vitek says it’s too late to get the vaccine to prevent the symptoms from getting worse.  “People should watch for symptoms which are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and jaundice,” she says, and they should look out for them until October 3rd.

The Salt Lake County Health Department has seen an explosion Hep A cases ever since an outbreak began in California in May of last year.  Normally, since then, they’ve seen 190 people come down with the virus.

Vitek says, “We usually have about three cases [every year] of Hepatitis A, so, 190 cases, for us, is a lot of work.”