The E. coli O157:H7 contamination of fresh produce and stomach-and bowel-churning norovirus captured headlines in 2006, but in 2007 it is viral Hepatitis A that has been taxing the good will of thousands of restaurant patrons and employees and could ultimately cost restaurateurs plenty.

Since January, employees of at least seven chains or multiunit companies have been diagnosed with infections from Hepatitis A, a disease of the liver linked to fecal matter exposure that can, in a

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