Officials: Hepatitis A case identified in Morimoto Asia restaurant worker; vaccines encouraged

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — A hepatitis A infection has been identified in a food service worker at the Morimoto Asia restaurant at Walt Disney World's Disney Springs complex, the Florida Department of Health said Wednesday evening.

Officials said people who consumed food or beverages at the restaurant between Nov. 6 and Nov. 16 might have been exposed to the virus.

The agency said patrons who experience the following infection symptoms should promptly seek medical attention: sudden abdominal discomfort, dark urine, fever, diarrhea or jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes).

"Hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (IG) may provide protection against the disease if given within two weeks after exposure," DOH spokesman Kent Donahue said. "Therefore, those who consumed food or beverage at the restaurant between Nov. 6, 2018, and Nov. 16, 2018, should promptly contact their health care provider to receive vaccination."

People who have had hepatitis A or previously received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine do not need to be immunized again, Donahue said.

The agency said uninsured Orange County residents may receive a complimentary vaccination at the following locations by appointment:

6101 Lake Ellenor Drive, Orlando, FL 32809 (for ages 19 and older)
Phone: 407-723-5054

832 W. Central Blvd., Orlando, FL 32805
Phone: 407-858-1444

Officials said the county has seen an increase in hepatitis A cases since June 2018. They said the current number of cases of locally transmitted hepatitis A infections in Orange County is almost 5,000 percent greater than the previous five-year average of 1.4 cases per year.

Concerned customers may call 877-404-3821 to leave their information and a call-back number, or they may call DOH's epidemiology program at 407-858-1420 for further information.

A Disney spokeswoman told Channel 9 that the company does not own the restaurant.

A spokesperson for Morimoto Asia issued the following statement:

“The health, well-being and safety of our guests and employees is our top priority. We are working closely with the health department to ensure the restaurant follows all recommended procedures to protect our guests and employees. For additional information about this notice, please contact the Department of Health Orange County Epidemiology Program at 407-858-1420.”