Hepatitis A alert issued for Rome eatery

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An employee of Taco Bell on Erie Boulevard West in Rome has tested positive for hepatitis A and worked while infectious, prompting the Oneida County Health Department to recommend that anyone who had food there at certain times since June 24 consider getting preventative treatment as soon as possible.

The restaurant was made aware of the positive test and is cooperating, according to the health department. Health Department staff are inspecting the restaurant.

The hepatitis A vaccine is effective if given within two weeks of exposure. The vaccine is recommended for those who had food from the restaurant at the following days and times, followed by the deadline to get the vaccine within its effective time period:

June 24, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.; vaccination by July 8

June 25, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.; vaccination by July 9

June 29, 6 p.m. to 10:40 p.m.; vaccination by July 13

July 2, 6 p.m. to 2:40 a.m.; vaccination by July 16

July 3, 6 p.m. to 3:45 a.m.; vaccination by July 17

To get a vaccination, contact your primary health care provider or contact the Oneida County Health Department. Vaccinations will be given at the department’s Rome Clinic office at 300 West Dominick St. in Rome by appointment only. To make an appointment, call 315-798-5747 and press 1. Leave a message with your name, date of birth, phone number and date of exposure. Due to the volume of calls expected, the Health Department asks to leave only one message and your call will be returned.

Patrons who had food from the Taco Bell between June 11 and June 22, outside the vaccination effectiveness period, are advised to monitor themselvesfor symptoms.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of Hepatitis A include yellow skin or eyes, lack of appetite, upset stomach, stomach pain,vomiting, fever, dark urine or light-colored stools, joint pain, diarrhea, and fatigue.

Symptoms commonly appear within 28 days of exposure, with a range of 15 to 50 days. If you have any of these symptoms, please contact the OCHD or your health care provider.

Hepatitis A is transmitted by consuming food or drinks or by using utensils that have been handled by an infected person. It may also be spread from person to person by ingesting something that has been contaminated by the infected person. Casual contact, such as sitting together, does not spread the virus.

Taco Bell Corp. issued a statement Tuesday afternoon: "As soon the franchise operator of this Rome, NY location learned that a team member tested positive for the Hepatitis A virus, they began working closely with Taco Bell and local health officials. The restaurant was thoroughly sanitized and all team members will be offered vaccinations. Ensuring the health and wellbeing of our team members and our customers is our highest priority, which is why we are taking this matter so seriously.”

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