SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, Sept. 10, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Officials are warning that customers who consumed food or beverages at the popular downtown New Yorker restaurant in July and August may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus.
Salt Lake County Health Department said in a news release those that visited the restaurant at 60 West Market Street between July 25 and Aug. 15 may have been exposed to the virus.
The possible hepatitis A exposure occurred when an infected employee worked while infectious and potentially handled certain food or beverage items. SLCoHD believes this case is linked to the ongoing hepatitis A outbreak Salt Lake County has been experiencing since mid-2017.
“This possible exposure affects only this single restaurant location,” the news release said. “SLCoHD estimates this possible exposure may affect up to 650 people, and diners for whom contact information was available have already been contacted by SLCoHD.”
It is too late for people who consumed items at the restaurant between the dates listed to receive preventive vaccination, officials said, so those individuals should watch for symptoms of hepatitis A and see their health care provider if they are concerned. Symptoms include low fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and yellow skin and eyes. The incubation period for hepatitis A is two to seven weeks, so potentially affected customers should watch for symptoms until Oct. 3. To date, SLCoHD has not received any reports of illness related to this possible exposure.
The New Yorker restaurant is cooperating fully with the health department’s investigation and response and, since discovering the possible exposure, has sanitized the affected restaurant areas according to health department recommendations. Before this exposure occurred, the New Yorker had also offered their employees the hepatitis A vaccine, but the infected employee chose not to receive it.
In Salt Lake County, hepatitis A vaccination is not required for food workers unless the establishment has an employee with a known exposure to the virus. Accordingly, all New Yorker employees who were not already vaccinated against hepatitis A must now be vaccinated before returning to work.
“Other food service establishments should also consider requiring that their employees be vaccinated against hepatitis A,” said Dr. Dagmar Vitek, SLCoHD medical director. “The cost of vaccination is minimal compared to the cost of a possible exposure at your establishment.”
Hepatitis A vaccine is covered by most insurance plans and is widely available at local pharmacies, health care providers, and SLCoHD immunization clinics. Call 385-468-SHOT (7468) for an appointment at a health department immunization clinic.
Customers who are fully vaccinated with two doses against hepatitis A are protected and do not need to be concerned. In July 2002, Utah began requiring hepatitis A vaccination for children entering kindergarten, so many people who began kindergarten during or after the 2002–2003 school year are likely vaccinated against hepatitis A; check your personal immunization record to be sure.
Potentially affected customers with specific questions may call SLCoHD at 385-468-INFO (4636).