Restaurant closes due to hepatitis A threat

FORT COLLINS – The Larimer County Department of Public Health and Environment is advising the public about potential exposure to the hepatitis A virus at Tortilla Marissa’s, a restaurant at 2635 S. College Ave.

A worker at the restaurant has tested positive for hepatitis A, according to a release from the county. The disease might be passed to others through food directly handled by the employee before any symptoms appears, the release states.

Tortilla Marissa’s is cooperating fully in the investigation and has voluntarily closed until the department approves its reopening.

“We are taking the illness very seriously and want to ensure that no one gets sick from eating the food (the sick employee) handled,” Tortilla Marissa’s said in a statement. “We will be working to make sure that we can safely serve you when we reopen with the help of the Larimer County Health Department.”

The restaurant has also instituted new policies for employees, including that all workers must get a hepatitis A vaccination. Tortilla Marissa’s has also written a new employee sick policy, according to the statement.

The risk of transmission to others occurred primarily in June, but there is a “very low risk” that transmission might extend back to May.

As of Friday, no secondary cases had been reported by any customers, but the disease has an incubation period of 14 to 50 days. The health department recommends an injection for those who have eaten in the restaurant during the past two weeks.

A hepatitis A vaccination or immune globulin injection could reduce the risk of illness. Shots can be obtained from private health providers or at two special clinics that the health department will be holding on Sunday and Monday specifically for those potentially exposed to hepatitis A at Tortilla Marissa’s.

The department-provided shots will be free at the Larimer County Health Department, 1525 Blue Spruce Drive, from noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, June 29, and from 5 to 8 p.m., Monday, June 30.

More information will be posted at www.larimer.org by the afternoon of June 28. Online pre-registration is strongly encouraged, according to the release.”