Burger Boy owner speaks out after Hepatitis A case confirmed at restaurant

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CARIBOU, Maine (WAGM) - Clinics have been set up in Aroostook County for people who may have been exposed to the Hepatitis A virus.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention identified a case of the infection in a food service worker that was working at a popular restaurant in Caribou.

It isn't business as usual here at Burger Boy in Caribou. What is typically a hot spot for lunch was the center of concern late last week.

"Earlier in the week we had an employee who works in our kitchen and he came to an hour, became ill, decided that he needed to go home and get checked out, went to the hospital, he was admitted to the hospital and I knew that Monday and Tuesday but I didn't know he tested positive for Hepatitis A until Friday afternoon," said Spense Ouellette.

Spense Ouellette is the owner. He says after the case was confirmed Maine CDC alerted the public of the potential risk to those who ate at the establishment from May 6th to May 13th.

"Hepatitis A is one of a family of the hepatitis viruses that causes inflammation of the liver, the symptoms are usually nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, clay colored stools, fatigue, and joint pain," said Gallaher.

"You may be contagious from maybe a few days before symptoms but most of the time you're contagious when you have the symptoms until they resolution means your body has overcome the infection and has control the virus," said Macharia

Clinics have been set up at both Cary Medical Center and Northern Light AR Gould to give those at risk the vaccine. Meanwhile, Burger Boy has taken the steps to ensure the safety of their customers.

Ouellette said, "The Health inspector came and did temperature control of our food, made sure everything was sanitized and make sure that we follow the system we always follow the food safety programs what the state wants us to do."

"The state had told us that they were going to be vaccinating all the people at Burger Boy, if they all get vaccinated that will actually be the safest place to eat in the city because they won't be able to catch the hepatitis A and spread it," said Gallagher.

The employee is currently off on medical leave and won't return until they are cleared. Ouellette says they've noticed a tremendous difference in business.

They hope with more education on Hepatitis A the public will know there is no longer a risk to eat at Burger Boy.