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Colorado Restaurant to Stay Closed for Weeks After Hepatitis A Scare

Tortilla Marissa’s, a Mexican restaurant in Fort Collins, CO, will not reopen until August 9 because of the Hepatitis A scare that the restaurant faced at the end of June, according to the Coloradoan.

The Larimer County Health Department has advised the owners to keep the restaurant closed that long due to the virus’ relatively long incubation period, which averages 28 days but can last up to 50 days in some cases.

The restaurant originally closed on June 27, a day after an employee tested positive for the virus, which has a high risk of being spread when an infected person handles food. In total, the restaurant will be closed 43 days.

The only way the owners could legally open before that would be to hire an entirely new staff.

The county health department administered roughly 800 vaccines to restaurant patrons following the incident, but many did not opt to receive a vaccine. No other cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in connection to Tortilla Marissa’s.

The restaurant received an “inadequate” rating after an inspection in late May, a month before the incident. In two follow-up inspections, the restaurant earned “good” and “excellent” ratings.

The owners say that the closure time will allow them to address the remaining concerns presented by the inspections.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease resulting from infection by the Hepatitis A virus. Symptoms of infection include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, dark urine and jaundice.

Those who believe they have been exposed to Hepatitis A are encouraged to seek medical attention. Receiving a vaccination within two weeks of exposure could prevent any illness from occurring, and those who have received a vaccination in the past are immune to the virus.

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