Seems like a daily happening – a food service worker with hepatitis A – Vaccines anyone?
An employee who handles food at a Lawrenceville Wendy’s restaurant has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, the health department said.
An investigation found that the employee worked while ill at the Lawrenceville location off Scenic Highway and may have been able to spread hepatitis A to others from June 13 to June 29.
“It is relatively rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, but anyone who consumed food or drink at the Wendy’s during the above dates should contact their healthcare provider or their local Health Department to determine if a hepatitis A immunization is needed to prevent the disease,” the Gwinnett County Health Department said.
For those who believe they were exposed, the hepatitis A immunization is available at Gwinnett County Health Department locations with no out-of-pocket cost, regardless of insurance status.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown-colored urine and light-colored stools. Yellowing of the skin or eyes may also appear. People can become ill up to 50 days after being exposed to the virus, the health department said.
Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. The virus spreads when an infected person does not wash his/her hands adequately after using the toilet or engages in behaviors that increase risk of infection. The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated.
The Gwinnett County Health Department advises anyone who consumed food and/or drink at the restaurant on the dates that employee worked to:
- Seek hepatitis A vaccination within 14 days of exposure, if previously unvaccinated. Patrons who do not receive vaccination within 14 days of their exposure can still be vaccinated; however, the vaccine may not protect them from developing illness.
- Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
- Monitor their health for symptoms of hepatitis A infection up to 50 days after exposure.
- Stay at home and contact their healthcare provider immediately if symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop. If symptoms of illness develop, exposed contacts should seek hepatitis A (anti-HAV IgM) testing through their private medical provider and alert the provider of their exposure.
Individuals with questions can call their medical provider or the Gwinnett County Health Department at 770-339-4260 (press 0 and ask to speak with the Epidemiologist on call). Additional information about hepatitis A can also be found at http://www.gnrhealth.com/hepatitis-a-prevention/ or cdc.gov/hepatitis.
Hepatitis A: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $650 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food. The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr. We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, who required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.
If you or a family member became ill with a Hepatitis A infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Hepatitis A attorneys for a free case evaluation.