Gino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria Linked to Deadly Hepatitis A Outbreak in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; 11 cases under investigation

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – The Montgomery County Department of Public Health Friday released the name of the Italian restaurant linked to a deadly hepatitis A outbreak.

Gino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in West Norriton will be closed until further notice while the investigation continues, officials said.

Health officials said a total of 11 cases are under investigation, with nine confirmed cases of hepatitis A and two possible cases. Of the nine confirmed cases, seven people were hospitalized. To date, one death has been confirmed and one more is under investigation.

The source of the outbreak is still under investigation. Anyone experiencing symptoms of Hepatitis A should contact their doctor.

However, Gino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria says they are not the source of the outbreak. A statement from the restaurant’s lawyer said the claims are “false”.

“There has been an unfounded rumor that Gino’s caused the death of Hepatitis A. This is false. The Montgomery County and Pennsylvania health departments inspected our restaurant and found no evidence of any airborne or communicable disease; cleanliness of our facility good; approved our cooling and hot water temperatures and did not name us or our suppliers for any violation related to their investigation None of our employees have been sick; we have followed all COVID protocols; and none of our customers contacted us regarding food issues.We have been in business for over 50 years and have been in this location for almost 15 years.We pride ourselves on our excellent reputation for excellent Italian food and hope you are not swayed by false rumors We ask our loyal customers to please give us the names of the persons who spread this maliciousness so we can take the proper legal action to stop this madness. Condolences to the families of the deceased. We can’t and won’t take responsibility for something we didn’t cause.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has provided this information about hepatitis A:

“Hepatitis A is a highly contagious vaccine-preventable liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV), ranging in severity from a mild infection lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is spreading usually when a person unknowingly spreads the virus from objects, foods, or drinks contaminated with small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.Hepatitis A can also spread through close personal contact with an infected person, such as through sex or caring for someone who is sick.”

Signs and symptoms of hepatitis A may include the following:

  • Clay-colored stools
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)

This is the last warning of hepatitis A from health officials in the Delaware Valley in recent years.

In November, a Starbucks in Camden County, New Jersey was the focus of a hepatitis A investigation.

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