NORRISTOWN, Pa. - Health leaders in Montgomery County say a third death is under investigation in a Hepatitis A outbreak that is already being blamed for two fatalities and the closure of a local Italian restaurant.
Over two weeks ago, the Montgomery County Office of Public Health "temporarily closed" Gino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in West Norriton in connection to a Hepatitis A outbreak that has infected at least nine people. Seven of the lab-confirmed cases have resulted in hospitalizations, according to the department.
Health officials on Tuesday confirmed that a second person had died in connection to the outbreak and a third death was being investigated.
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The origin of the outbreak remains unknown and officials urged anyone who is experiencing symptoms of Hepatitis A to contact their doctor.
In an advisory, the Pennsylvania Department of Health defined hepatitis A as a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV).
Symptoms can range in severity from mild infection lasting a few weeks to severe disease lasting several months.
Health officials say Hepatitis A 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. It can also spread through close personal contact with an infected person, such as sexual contact, or caring for someone who is ill.
For more information on hepatitis A from the CDC, click here.