Customers and employees of Stone Balloon Ale House in Newark may have been exposed to hepatitis A, public health officials said Friday afternoon.
The potential exposure to the popular Main Street Restaurant – located in the Washington House complex on the site of the former Stone Balloon Bar – began on March 20 and ended on April 3. This period includes the Newark & # 39; s Wine and Dine Festival, Stone Balloon for special food and wine pairings.
"We understand that this information may relate to people having dined or worked in one of the restaurants during this time," said Dr. Rick Hong, medical director of DPH, in a statement. "However, we want to emphasize that the risk of transmission of the virus to those who have dined in these restaurants is low. As DPH's mission is to protect and promote the health of all Delaware residents, we recommend those who visited these restaurants during the exhibition period to contact their health care provider to discuss their individual risk factors. "
Officials on Thursday announced a potential exhibition at Buffalo Wild Wings, at 540 W. Main St., Middletown (between March 28 and April 10), where an employee became ill with hepatitis A. Friday, they expanded the warning by including the Stone Balloon Ale House and a second Buffalo Wild Wings at the Pulaski Highway 1887 in Bear (between March 21st and April 12th). The three institutions are managed by High 5 Hospitality.
No warning has been issued for the Buffalo Wild Wings in Newark, which is also managed by High 5.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated with small, undetected amounts. stool from an infected person. The virus can be transmitted when an infected person does not wash their hands well after using the toilet, prepared meals or shared utensils with others while eating, or adopts other behaviors that increase the risk of infection.
Symptoms may include loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown urine, pale stools, or yellowing of the skin or eyes.
Symptoms can appear between 15 and 50 days after exposure to the virus. If someone develops these symptoms, he must stay at home and contact a doctor immediately. There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A except rest, fluids and good nutrition.
Jennifer Brestel, a spokeswoman for the Delaware Department of Health and Human Services, said the risk was greater for restaurant employees. She recommended that employees contact their physician for post-exposure prophylaxis, which may include hepatitis A vaccine or an immunoglobulin injection to prevent serious illness.
The risk for clients is low, but those with additional risk factors, such as chronic liver disease, pregnancy, or compromised immune systems, should consider seeking post-exposure treatment.
Individuals with health insurance who have concerns or who need a risk assessment, and who do not have a primary health care provider, should go to a local walk-in medical center (not a health center). Emergency Room) or call the DPH Infectious Disease Epidemiology Office at 302- 744-4990 or 1-888-295-5156.
If a restaurant employee or a high-risk person who dines at one of the restaurants needs a vaccine and is not insured or underinsured, he or she must contact one of the following Monday's DPH health clinics. to Friday at the following address:
· Hudson State Service Center, 501 Ogletown Road, Newark, DE 19711 302-283-7587, option 2
· Porter State Service Center, 509 O 8 St. St., Wilmington, DE 19801 302-777-2860
· Kent County Health Unit, River Road, Dover, DE 19901, 302-857-5140
· Sussex County Health Unit, 544. S. Bedford Street, Georgetown, DE 19947, 302-515-3220