Officials said Gino’s Restaurant and Pizzeria in West Norriton will be closed until further notice while the investigation continues.
A total of 11 cases are under investigation, health officials said, with nine confirmed cases of hepatitis A and two probable cases. Of the nine confirmed cases, seven have been hospitalized. So far, one death has been confirmed and another death is being investigated.
Gino’s front window now has a yellow sign that states the establishment is closed by the Montgomery County Health Department.
“This can be a fatal disease but is extremely rare with only about 1% having the fatal liver failure that comes as a result,” said Dr. William Surkis of Main Line Health. “For most people, it’s a transient infection and people recover from it.”
The investigation indicates that the exposure occurred in late November, but the source of the outbreak is still being investigated. Anyone experiencing symptoms of hepatitis A should contact their doctor.
However, Gino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria says it is not the source of the outbreak. A statement by the restaurant’s lawyer said the allegations were “false”.
“There was an unfounded rumor that Gino had caused the death of hepatitis A. This is not true. The health departments of Montgomery County and Pennsylvania inspected our restaurant and found no evidence of any airborne or transmissible disease; he agreed to clean Our facility has approved cooling and our hot water temperatures and neither we nor our suppliers have reported any violation in connection with their investigation None of our employees have been sick We have followed all COVID protocols and none of our customers have contacted us about any food issues We have been working since Over 50 years old and on this site for nearly 15 years.We take great pride in our outstanding reputation for excellent Italian food and hope it won’t be affected by false rumours.We ask our loyal customers to please give us the names of people spreading this malice so we can take appropriate legal action to stop this madness Condolences to the family of the late. We cannot and will not be held responsible for something we did not do.”
During the last inspection at the end of December, Ginos Restaurant received no violations, but according to health inspection reports, the restaurant has been cited for poor food handling and storage among other violations over the past few years.
Food suppliers and other aspects of the business are investigated.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health provided this information about hepatitis A:
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) and ranges in severity from a mild infection lasting a few weeks to severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person inadvertently swallows the virus from objects or foods or drinks that have been contaminated with small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. Hepatitis A can also be spread from close personal contact with an infected person such as sex or caring for someone who is sick.”
Hepatitis A signs and symptoms can include:
- Mud-colored bowel movement
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
This is the latest warning about hepatitis A from Delaware Valley health officials in recent years.
In November, Starbucks in Camden County, New Jersey was the center of a hepatitis A investigation.
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