UPDATED: Possible Hepatitis A Exposure at Middletown Buffalo Wild Wings & 2 Other Locations

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UPDATED – 04/12/19  6:30pm – New information indicates that potential exposures began earlier at the Middletown restaurant than previously reported, therefore the time frame for which DPH is providing guidance to restaurant staff and diners has been updated.  As part of its ongoing investigation, DPH has also determined that exposure to the Hepatitis A virus may have also occurred at a second Buffalo Wild Wings location in Bear, as well as the Stone Balloon Ale House in Newark.

DPH is taking steps to protect anyone who might have been exposed to the virus. Staff who worked at these food establishments during the indicated time frames should contact their health care provider to receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which may include the hepatitis A vaccine or a shot of immune globulin to prevent severe illness.

  • Stone Balloon, 115 E. Main St., Newark – Potential exposures began on March 20, 2019 and ended with a cleaning of the facility on April 3, 2019. The timing of the cleaning at this facility was not related to the potential exposures, but would have ended the exposure window.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings, 1887 Pulaski Highway, Bear – Potential exposures began on March 21, 2019 and ended with the voluntary closure and cleaning of the facility on April 12, 2019.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings, 540 W. Main St., Middletown – New information indicates that potential exposures began earlier than previously reported. Potential exposures began on March 28, 2019 and ended with the voluntary closure and cleaning on April 10, 2019.

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The Division of Public Health (DPH) has announced that employees and patrons of Buffalo Wild Wings located at 540 W. Main Street in Middletown, may have been exposed to the Hepatitis A virus between March 31 and April 10, 2019. When notified yesterday about the possible exposures, the establishment voluntarily closed for cleaning and sanitization prior to reopening to the public on Thursday, April 11.

While it is relatively rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis A virus from a food establishment due to standard sanitation practices, DPH is taking steps to protect anyone who might have been exposed to the virus. Anyone who consumed food or drink at this restaurant between March 31 and April 10 should consider contacting their health care provider for further guidance regarding the potential exposure, especially those with symptoms, with chronic medical conditions or women who may be pregnant.

Staff of the food establishment should contact their health care provider to receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which may include the hepatitis A vaccine or a shot of immune globulin to prevent severe illness.

Those who do not have a primary health care provider should visit a local walk-in medical center (not an emergency room), and those who are uninsured or under-insured should contact one of the following DPH health clinics at:

  • Porter State Service Center, 509 W. 8th St., Wilmington, DE 19801 302-777-2860
  • Hudson State Service Center, 501 Ogletown Road, Newark, DE 19711 302-283-7587, option 2
  • Kent County Health Unit, River Road, Dover, DE 19901, 302-857-5140
  • Sussex County Health Unit, 544. S. Bedford St., Georgetown, DE 19947, 302-515-3220

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver and usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. The virus can spread when an infected person does not wash his/her hands adequately after using the toilet, prepares food or shares utensils with others while eating, or engages in other behaviors that increase risk of infection. Symptoms may include:

    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea
    • Tiredness
    • Fever
    • Stomach pain
    • Brown-colored urine and light-colored stools
    • Yellowing of the skin of eyes

Symptoms can appear up to 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus. If anyone develops these symptoms, they should stay at home and contact their health care provider immediately. There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis A infection. Generally, rest, fluids, and good nutrition are all that is needed. Those with Hepatitis A should avoid drugs and alcohol. Careful hand washing, including under the fingernails, with soap and water, is an important tool to prevent the spread of this disease.

For more information about Hepatitis A, visit www.cdc.gov/hepatitis, https://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/hepa.html or call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 302-744-4990 or 1-800-282-8672.