The Delaware Division of Public Health disclosedthat employees and patrons of Buffalo Wild Wings at 540 W. Main St., Middletown, may have been exposed to the Hepatitis A virus between March 31 and April 10.
When notified on Wednesday about the possible exposures, the establishment voluntarily closed for cleaning and sanitization prior to reopening to the public the next day.
While it is relatively rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis A virus from a food establishment due to standard sanitation practices, DPH is taking steps to protect anyone who might have been exposed to the virus.
Anyone who consumed food or drink at this restaurant between March 31 and April 10 should consider contacting their health care provider for further guidance regarding the potential exposure, especially those with symptoms, with chronic medical conditions or women who may be pregnant.
Staff of the food establishment should contact their health care provider to receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), 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, DE 19801 302-777-2860
• Hudson State Service Center, 501 Ogletown Road, Newark, DE 19711 302-283-7587, option 2
• Kent County Health Unit, River Road, Dover, DE 19901, 302-857-5140
• Sussex County Health Unit, 544. S. Bedford St., Georgetown, DE 19947, 302-515-3220
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver and usually 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 when an infected person does not wash his/her hands adequately after using the toilet, prepares food or shares utensils with others while eating, or engages in other behaviors that increase risk of infection. Symptoms may include:
• Loss of appetite
• Stomach pain
• Brown-colored urine and light-colored stools
• Yellowing of the skin of eyes
Symptoms can appear up to 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus. 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 infection. Generally, rest, fluids, and good nutrition are all that is needed. Those with Hepatitis A should avoid drugs and alcohol.
Careful hand washing, including under the fingernails, with soap and water, is an important tool to prevent the spread of this disease.