An employee of a restaurant and catering company in New Jersey has tested positive for Hepatitis A. According to the Times of Trenton, health officials traced the virus to the employee — who worked in food preparation at Rosa's Restaurant and Catering — on Monday. The unnamed employee has been in the hospital since last Tuesday.
Officials warn that anyone who ate food from the restaurant between November 10 and December 1 could possibly be at risk for Hepatitis A if they have not been vaccinated. A health official tells the newspaper, "It is contagious through the oral route when you ingest food so it's a possibility that... you could contract the virus if he was handling your food at the time."
Food Safety News notes that symptoms of the virus include mild fever, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, jaundice, and abdominal pain. The severity of the virus can also vary: Mild cases tend to last two weeks or less, while more intense cases can last anywhere between four to six weeks. Officials are currently unsure about the number of people that may have been exposed to the disease after eating at Rosa's.
Hepatitis A is unfortunately a common virus in the restaurant world because it is easily transmitted via contaminated food and water. Back in May, thousands were potentially exposed to the virus after an employee of a Red Robin in Missouri was found to have it. In June, an employee of a restaurant in Colorado also tested positive for Hepatitis A after potentially spreading it to hundreds of customers.
The numerous number of Hepatitis A cases in the restaurant industry has inspired some to call for mandatory vaccinations for food handlers to prevent future outbreaks.