The Niagara County Health Department has confirmed a case of Hepatitis A in a worker at a taco chain restaurant in the LaSalle section of Niagara Falls.
The confirmation followed a disease investigation by the health department at the Taco Bell restaurant located at 73rd Street and Niagara Falls Boulevard. Health department officials said the investigation took place on Dec. 3, 2019 in response to the notification of the suspected case.
Following laboratory testing, interviews and a restaurant inspection, an employee who handles food at the Taco Bell was identified with the Hepatitis A virus. The establishment has been notified of the potential exposure and the manager has sent the sick employee home. Additionally, the health department has advised the manager to send any staff reporting Hepatitis A virus related symptoms for medical evaluation before returning to work.
"When our franchisee of this Niagara Falls, NY restaurant learned that one of the team members was diagnosed, they immediately started working in lock step with Taco Bell and health officials to protect the health of employees and customers," Taco Bell said in an email statement. "The restaurant was thoroughly sanitized and all team members will be offered vaccinations."
Employees of the restaurant will be offered post exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Taco Bell in Niagara Falls will be subject to additional inspections over the coming weeks and is complying with health department recommendations.
As a result of this potential Hepatitis A virus exposure, NCDOH is advising anyone who ate food as a dine-in, takeout, delivery or utilized the restroom at Taco Bell in Niagara Falls (7300 Niagara Falls Blvd., Niagara Falls) between Nov. 21, 2019 and Dec. 1, 2019 to receive free Hepatitis A vaccine from the Niagara County Department of Health to prevent potentially exposed individuals from becoming infected. The Point of Dispensing (POD) will be held at from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building, 3001 Ninth St., Niagara Falls.
“We encourage those who may have been exposed in this specific timeframe to visit the Point of Dispensing to receive free post exposure prophylaxis,” Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton said.
Those attending the Point of Dispensing are encouraged to pre-register to save time during the onsite registration process. Pre-registration may be completed prior to arrival by visiting, http://www.niagaracounty.com/Health and look for the pre-registration link at the top.