Patrons of Marco’s Italian Restaurant at 12 Mollison Way, pictured here in November 2022, may have been exposed to hepatitis A over the last month, the Maine CDC says, after an employee was diagnosed recently. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal file

LEWISTON — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported a case of hepatitis A in a food service worker at Marco’s Italian Restaurant at 12 Mollison Way in Lewiston, according to a Tuesday news release.

The employee worked during their infectious period Sept. 11, 13, 15-16, 18, 20-22, 25 and 27-28, the release said.

The CDC cautioned that anyone who patronized the business during those days is at risk for hepatitis A infection, which spreads from about two weeks before symptoms show and a week after they begin.

The CDC advises symptoms of hepatitis A can include exhaustion, low or no appetite, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, dark urine, jaundice, fever or joint pain. Symptoms, which range from mild to severe, begin 15-50 days after exposure, may require hospital care and symptoms could last for months, the release said.

Those potentially exposed should contact their health care provider for a vaccine which comes in a two-dose series, the CDC release said. Those exposed to the virus can avoid sickness if the vaccine is administered 14 days after the exposure. A single dose can give immunity to the disease for several years, but two doses are recommended for long-term immunity, said the release.

Marco’s owner Duane Arnold said the health and safety of patrons and staff are his top priority and that he and staff began working with the CDC as soon as they learned of the health risk. The CDC has determined the case was isolated and that there is no direct risk to patrons or staff, Arnold said. He said transparency is also a top priority and he and staff will continue to work with CDC to ensure continued safety.

“We understand that concerns may arise, but we emphasize that we take every precaution to prevent any potential health risk,” Arnold said. “Please know, that we have been operating successfully for many, many years and we have always received approvals from the health inspection authorities to continue service. We are fully committed to maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness, safety and great food.”

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