For goodness sake, vaccinate – your employees!

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is warning of a possible hepatitis A (hep A) exposure after an employee of the Little Caesar’s Pizza, at 1731 West Kingshighway in Paragould, tested positive for the virus. Hep A is a contagious liver disease.

Anyone who ate at this facility from July 19 to August 2 should seek vaccination immediately if they have never been vaccinated against hep A or are unsure of their vaccination status. There are no specific treatments once a person gets hep A. Illness can be prevented even after exposure by getting the vaccine or medicine called immune globulin. This medicine contains antibodies to hep A and works best if given within two weeks of exposure to the virus.

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is warning of a possible hepatitis A (hep A) exposure after an employee of the Red Lobster, at 7401 Rogers Ave. in Fort Smith tested positive for the virus. Hep A is a contagious liver disease. This case appears to be related to travel outside of the state and is not thought to be part of the current hep A outbreak in Northeast Arkansas.

Anyone who ate at this facility from July 19 to August 4 should seek vaccination immediately if they have never been vaccinated against hep A or are unsure of their vaccination status. There are no specific treatments once a person gets hep A. Illness can be prevented even after exposure by getting the vaccine or medicine called immune globulin. This medicine contains antibodies to hep A. The vaccine and medicine work best if given within two weeks of exposure to the virus. However, if it has been more than two weeks since potential exposure but symptoms have not yet developed, the vaccine may still be given.

Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek care immediately. Typical symptoms of hep A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.

Hep A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hep A virus, which is a different virus from the viruses that cause hep B or hep C. It is usually spread when a person ingests tiny amounts of fecal matter from contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by the feces, or stool, of an infected person.

A person can transmit the virus to others up to two weeks before and one week after symptoms appear. The virus can cause illness anytime from two to seven weeks after exposure. If infected, most people will develop symptoms three to four weeks after exposure. Many people, especially children, may have no symptoms. Almost all people who get hep A recover completely and do not have any lasting liver damage, although they may feel sick for months.

The older a person is when they get hep A, typically the more severe symptoms they have. Other risk factors for having more severe symptoms of hep A include having other infections or chronic diseases like hep B or C, HIV/AIDS or diabetes. Up to one in three adults are typically hospitalized. Death due to hep A is rare but is more likely in patients with other liver diseases (like hep B or C).

Hepatitis A is preventable through vaccination. Hepatitis A vaccine has been recommended for school children for many years and one dose of hep A vaccine is required for entry into kindergarten and first grade as of 2014. Most adults are likely not vaccinated but may have been if they received vaccinations prior to traveling internationally.

As I have said way too often, it seems that hardly a month passes without a warning from a health department somewhere that an infected food handler is the source of yet another potential hepatitis A outbreak. Absent vaccinations of food handlers, combined with an effective and rigorous hand washing policy, there will continue to be more hepatitis A outbreaks. It is time for health departments across the country to require vaccinations of foodservice workers, especially those that serve the very young and the elderly.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 83,000 cases of hepatitis A occur in the United States every year, and that many of these cases are related to food-borne transmission. In 1999, over 10,000 people were hospitalized due to hepatitis A infections and 83 people died. In 2003, 650 people became sickened, 4 died and nearly 10,000 people got Ig shots after eating at a Pennsylvania restaurant. Not only do customers get sick, but businesses lose customers or some simply go out of business.

Although the CDC has not yet called for mandatory vaccination of foodservice workers, it has repeatedly pointed out that the consumption of worker-contaminated food is a major cause of food-borne illness in the United States.

Marler says hepatitis A continues to be one of the most frequently reported, vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States, despite the FDA-approval of hepatitis A vaccine in 1995. Widespread vaccination of appropriate susceptible populations would substantially lower disease incidence and potentially eliminate indigenous transmission of hepatitis A infections. Vaccinations cost about $50. The major economic reason that these preventative shots have not been used is because of the high turnover rate of foodservice employees. Eating out becomes a whole lot less of a gamble, if all foodservice workers faced the same requirement.

According to the CDC, the costs associated with hepatitis A are substantial. Between 11% and 22% of persons who have hepatitis A are hospitalized. Adults who become ill lose an average of 27 days of work. Health departments incur substantial costs in providing post-exposure prophylaxis to an average of 11 contacts per case.

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.

Patrons who ate at Hardee’s restaurant on Little Rock Road in Charlotte between June 13 and 23 should receive a hepatitis A vaccination as soon as possible.

Director Gibbie Harris announced today that the outbreak identified by the State and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) earlier this month in Mecklenburg County has led to five additional cases since June 6, including a Hardee’s employee diagnosed Monday.

“After consulting with the State today, we are recommending a vaccination for exposed employees and patrons who ate at the 2604 Little Rock Road location between June 13 and 23,” Harris said. “According to the CDC, the vaccine must be given within 14 days of exposure for the vaccine to be effective.”

People who dined at Hardees on Little Rock Road on June 13 and 14 are strongly urged to get a vaccination in the next two days.

Public Health announced June 6 that North Carolina Public Health officials and the CDC declared an outbreak of the liver disease in Mecklenburg County. Five additional cases of hepatitis A have been identified for a total of ten confirmed cases since April 20. Those who have had a hepatitis A infection, or one hepatitis A vaccination, are protected from the virus and do not need to take action.

The fifth day of hepatitis A vaccination clinics has closed for the evening, but more vaccination clinics are set for this week, including the Independence Day holiday.

Those who may have been exposed, or are at risk of contracting the liver infection, may receive a vaccine at no cost.

There is plenty of vaccine on hand in Mecklenburg County. In addition, the State has provided vaccines to all North Carolina public health departments.

Public Health vaccination clinics for customers who might have been exposed and for residents who meet the high-risk factors for hepatitis A will be held:

  • Monday, July 2, Tuesday, July 3, Thursday, July 5 and Friday, July 6 – Public Health clinic locations at 2845 Beatties Ford Road and 249 Billingsley Road, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 4 – 2845 Beatties Ford Road, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 7 – 2845 Beatties Ford Road, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

My bet is that they wish they would have offered hepatitis A vaccinations to employees.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, which provides public health services for Kanawha and Putnam Counties, has confirmed hepatitis A cases in food service workers at the McDonald’s at 64 Patrick St. in Charleston, Pizza Hut at 603 Third St. in Saint Albans, Paul’s Poplar Park Drive Inn at 9850 Teays Valley Road in Scott Depot, Sakura at 230 Nitro Place in Cross Lanes, and Sam’s Club at 2500 Mountaineer Boulevard in South Charleston.

One worker has been identified at each facility. This is part of an investigation involving a hepatitis A outbreak that began in February and has been linked to a national outbreak.

As a precaution, family members and coworkers are receiving hepatitis A immunizations, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols.

When an individual working at a food service establishment is diagnosed, KCHD sanitarians do an onsite inspection to review food-handling practices. This includes talking with employees and observing food-handling procedures.

Stanley Mills, director of environmental health services, identified no unsafe food handling practices at any of the facilities warranting the health department issue warnings to patrons suggesting immunizations because of possible exposures.

Public transmission by a food service worker is uncommon if employees follow proper handwashing requirements and wear gloves. No hepatitis A has been transmitted to restaurant patrons in Kanawha and Putnam Counties.

Food service workers are not at increased risk for hepatitis A because of their occupation unless they have identified risk factors or personal contact with someone with risk factors.

Transmission risk is extremely low. The health department recommends patrons who consumed food or drinks at any of the restaurants monitor for hepatitis A symptoms. These include abdominal pain, dark urine, fatigue, fever, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), light-colored stools, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. If symptoms occur, seek medical attention.

The infectious periods are McDonald’s, May 27 – June 17; Pizza Hut, May 28 – June 18; Paul’s Polar Park Drive Inn, May 21 – June 19; Sakura, June 07-28; and Sam’s Club, May 12-June 02.   The possibility of transmission is present only when employees were working at the facilities.

West Virginia has been identified by the CDC as part of a multistate hepatitis A outbreak. Transmission in cases in states involved with the outbreak has been by person-to person contact occurring primarily among the homeless or those using injection and non-injection drugs and their close direct contacts.

The Bureau for Public Health is providing free hepatitis A vaccine for high-risk groups in outbreak counties. Vaccinations are available to the following groups: homeless, close personal contact (including sexual) to someone who is homeless or using drugs, household contact to someone who is homeless or using drugs, exposure or contact to someone who has hepatitis A, food service workers, recently incarcerated and direct service providers to the homeless and people who use drugs. The health department screens for insurance eligibility before using the state-supplied vaccine.

Additional information can be found on the health department website www.kchdwv.org or by calling the health department at 304-348-8050.

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.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is the only common foodborne disease preventable by vaccine. It is one of five hepatitis viruses that infect the liver. While hepatitis B and C can turn into chronic hepatitis, hepatitis A generally does not; although it can lead to liver failure and death.

Hepatitis A is rare in the United States, with 30,000 to 50,000 cases occurring each year. However, in most other countries, poorer sanitation systems lead to easier transmission of the disease, and therefore more cases.

Hepatitis A is a contagious disease. It travels in feces, and can spread from person to person, or can be contracted from food or water. In cases of contaminated food, it is usually the person preparing the food who contaminates it. The food handler will probably not know they have the virus, since the virus is most likely to be passed on in the first two weeks of illness, before a person begins to show symptoms.

SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS A

Symptoms of hepatitis A usually appear around 28 days after infection but can start as early as two weeks after catching the virus. Only 30 percent of children with the virus actually develop symptoms. Early symptoms of this hepatitis virus include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Fever
  • Weakness and fatigue

After a few days of experiencing these symptoms, 70 percent of patients develop jaundice, a yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Jaundice also causes dark urine and light, clay-colored feces.

Length of Symptoms

Symptoms usually last less than two months, although they sometimes last up to six months, and jaundice can linger for up to eight months. Patients can also experience severely itchy skin for a few months after symptoms first appear. Most patients fully recover.

COMPLICATION OF HEPATITIS A

An acute hepatitis A case can develop into Fulminant Hepatitis A. This is a rare but severe complication of Hepatitis A, in which the toxins from the hepatitis virus kill an abnormally high number of liver cells (around ¾ of the liver’s total cells), and the liver begins to die.  Fifty percent of patients with this condition require an immediate liver transplant to avoid death. Fulminant hepatitis A can also cause further complications, including muscular dysfunction and multiple organ failure.

DIAGNOSIS OF HEPATITIS A

Hepatitis symptoms can be extremely similar among all human forms of hepatitis. Therefore, a blood test is needed to determine the specific hepatitis virus one has. The virus shows up in a person’s blood 10 to 12 days after a person is infected, at which point a doctor can draw a blood sample to determine which form of hepatitis a person has.

PREVENTION OF HEPATITIS A

Hepatitis A is completely avoidable, since a hepatitis A vaccine exists to prevent it. However, since the vaccine only became recommended for all children in 2006, many people are not vaccinated. Hepatitis transmission is still possible, and prevention techniques are still important. Food handlers should always wash hands after using the bathroom or changing a diaper and before preparing food.

Prevention of Acute Hepatitis After Infection

After a person has been exposed to Hepatitis A, immune globulin (IG) is 80 to 90 percent effective in preventing clinical hepatitis when it is injected within two weeks of exposure.

Who should get the Hepatitis A Vaccine?

Starting in 2006, this hepatitis vaccine became recommended for all children ages 12-23 months. The vaccine is also recommended for the following groups of people:

  • Travelers to areas with higher rates of hepatitis A
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Drug users (both injecting and non-injecting)
  • Those with blood clotting disorders (e.g. hemophilia)
  • Those with chronic liver disease
  • Those who risk infection in the workplace (e.g. hospital or laboratory workers)
  • Children living in regions of the U.S. with increased rates of hepatitis A
  • Members of households with an adopted child arriving from a country with a high rate of Hepatitis A

TREATING HEPATITIS A

Once the symptoms for hepatitis A appear, there is no direct treatment for the virus. Patients should rest according to how tired they feel and should receive enough nutrition either by eating or through fluids, since the disease can cause a lack of appetite.

Treatment for Fulminant Hepatitis A

Treatment for this complication will vary depending on a person’s individual case. In cases of advanced liver failure, a liver transplant may be the only option available to avoid death.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR HEPATITIS A

About-Hepatitis.com is a comprehensive site with in-depth information about hepatitis A virus and hepatitis A infection.

Hepatitis Blog provides up-to-date news related to hepatitis A outbreaks, research, and more.

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.

Patrons who ate at Hardees restaurant on Little Rock Road in Charlotte between June 13 and 23 should receive a hepatitis A vaccination as soon as possible.

Public Health Director Gibbie Harris announced today that the outbreak identified by the State and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) earlier this month in Mecklenburg County has led to five additional cases since June 6, including a Hardees employee diagnosed Monday.

“After consulting with the State today, we are recommending a vaccination for exposed employees and patrons who ate at the 2604 Little Rock Road location between June 13 and 23,” Harris said. “According to the CDC, the vaccine must be given within 14 days of exposure for the vaccine to be effective.”

Public Health vaccination clinics for customers who might have been exposed and for residents who meet the high-risk factors for hepatitis A will be held:

  • Wednesday, June 27 from 8 a.m. – 7.p.m, and Thursday, June 28 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., at Northwest Health Department, 2845 Beatties Ford Rd. and Southeast Health Department, 249 Billingsley Rd., Charlotte.
  • Friday, June 29 from 3 p.m. – 8p.m. at the Hal Marshall Building, 700 N. Tryon St., Charlotte.
  • Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Hal Marshall Building, 700 N. Tryon St, Charlotte.

People who dined at Hardees on Little Rock Road on June 13 and 14 are strongly urged to get a vaccination in the next two days.

Public Health announced June 6 that North Carolina Public Health officials and the CDC declared an outbreak of the liver disease in Mecklenburg County. Five additional cases of hepatitis A have been identified for a total of ten confirmed cases since April 20. Those who have had a hepatitis A infection, or one hepatitis A vaccination, are protected from the virus and do not need to take action.

The high-risk factors include:

  • Those who are household members, caregivers, or have sexual contact with someone who is infected with hepatitis A
  • Men who have sexual encounters with other men
  • Those who use recreational drugs, whether injected or not
  • Recent travel from countries where hepatitis A is common
  • Homeless individuals who do not have easy access to handwashing facilities

The best ways to prevent hepatitis A include:

  • Get the hepatitis A vaccine;
  • Practice safe handwashing procedures – wash your hands under warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before you prepare food, and
  • Wear a condom during sexual activity.

Public Health staff continues to work with medical providers and community partners to educate residents about how to prevent hepatitis A and to implement a plan to educate and encourage vaccination of those most at-risk of contracting the virus.

Since 2012, hepatitis A virus cases have been on the rise across the country. Between July 2016 to November 2017, the CDC reports 1200 cases have occurred nationally, including 826 hospitalizations and 37 deaths.  Outbreaks have occurred in California, Utah, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, and West Virginia.

What to know about hepatitis A

  1. It’s a highly contagious liver disease caused by a virus spread from person to person. The illness can last for weeks to months. Only acute cases are reportable in North Carolina.
    2. Hepatitis A spreads through the fecal-oral route, most commonly by forgetting to wash your hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers, having sexual contact with infected partners and eating or drinking foods contaminated by hepatitis A.
    3. Hepatitis A symptoms include nausea, fever, yellowing of the eyes and skin, dark urine, grey feces, joint pain, feeling tired, loss of appetite and stomach pain.
    4. The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to get the hepatitis A vaccine and to practice safe handwashing procedures – wash your hands under warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before you prepare food.
    5. Again, the most at-risk groups for hepatitis A are people who come into contact with someone who has hepatitis A, travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common, men who have sexual contact with men, people who use drugs (both injection and non-injection) and people with clotting factor disorders.

If you have potentially been exposed to hepatitis A and are unable to receive the vaccine watch for the symptoms listed above.  If you experience any of these symptoms, access medical care as soon as possible.

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, Hardee’s 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.

Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) announced today that people who consumed any food item from the Edible Arrangements store at 5211 South State Street in Murray between March 21 and April 13 may have been exposed to hepatitis A. This possible exposure affects only this Edible Arrangements location; health officials estimate that this store sold about 600 arrangements during this time.

Customers who consumed Edible Arrangements items from the Murray store between the dates listed should call 385-468-INFO (4636) for further instructions. The phone line will be staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. today through at least Friday, April 20. Health department staff will screen callers for their exposure risk and, if they are eligible, provide them with options for receiving an injection to prevent hepatitis A. To be effective, the injection must be given within 14 days of the possible exposure, so people who ate items from this location between April 4 and April 13 are eligible to receive the injection.

It is too late for people who ate items from this location between March 21 and April 3 to receive the injection, so those individuals should watch for symptoms of hepatitis A and see their health care provider if they’re concerned. Symptoms of hepatitis A include low fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and yellow skin and eyes.

Customers who are fully vaccinated (two doses) against hepatitis A are protected and do not need to contact the health department or receive vaccine. In July 2002, Utah began requiring hepatitis A vaccination for children entering kindergarten, so many people who began kindergarten during or after the 2002–2003 school year are likely vaccinated against hepatitis A; check your personal immunization record to be sure.

This possible hepatitis A exposure occurred when an employee infected with hepatitis A worked while ill. SLCoHD believes this case is linked to the ongoing outbreak Utah has been experiencing since summer 2017. To date, Salt Lake County has reported 153 hepatitis A cases related to that outbreak. We do not currently have any hepatitis A cases linked to this possible exposure at Edible Arrangements; because the incubation period for hepatitis A is two to seven weeks, we will not know for several weeks if anyone was infected from this possible exposure.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, which permits and regulates this Edible Arrangements location, closed the store yesterday afternoon and will supervise its sanitation before reopening. Under Salt Lake County’s food service regulation, SLCoHD will also require all store employees to be vaccinated against hepatitis A before they return to work.

“Food service establishments should consider vaccinating their employees against hepatitis A,” said Dr. Dagmar Vitek, SLCoHD medical director. “It’s also important that food handlers be conscientious with hygiene, hand washing and not working when ill—and that managers be vigilant in enforcing those important requirements that help protect public health.”

Hepatitis A vaccine is covered by many insurance plans and is available at local pharmacies, health care providers and SLCoHD immunization clinics. People not affected by this possible exposure but who would like to receive the vaccine may call 385-468-SHOT (7468) to make an appointment at a health department immunization clinic.

Kentucky officials say three deaths have now been reported in a hepatitis A outbreak in six counties.

The number was released Friday, along with a total number of cases of 352, through last Saturday. The state Department of Public Health recommends hepatitis A vaccinations for children older than 1 year and adults living in Jefferson, Bullitt, Hardin, Greenup, Carter and Boyd counties.

Public Health Acting Commissioner Jeffrey Howard said in a news release that it’s safe to travel to Kentucky and attend the May 5 Kentucky Derby. He said the Centers for Disease Control hasn’t issued any travel restrictions or made any vaccination recommendations for travelers.

The Indiana State Department of Health said this week that residents should be vaccinated and protect themselves from hepatitis A when traveling to states experiencing outbreaks.

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department has confirmed a case of hepatitis A in a food handler at Dave & Buster’s restaurant on Monroe Street, the department said Thursday.

Any restaurant patrons who consumed food or drink there between March 1 and March 29 are encouraged to monitor potential symptoms and contact their health care provider to be assessed for vaccination or treatment.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that can be spread by ingesting food or water contaminated by feces or through sexual contact. Symptoms such as fatigue, poor appetite, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting, dark urine, and jaundice can appear two to six weeks after exposure.

The employee is not currently working and is receiving medical care, according to the health department. The restaurant, located at 5001 Monroe St., is working with health officials to avoid additional exposure.

Southeast Michigan is experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak that began in August, 2016. As of April 11, 804 cases and 25 deaths have been confirmed in the region, according to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services. Seventeen of those cases are from Monroe County.

 

The Macomb County Health Department has confirmed a case of hepatitis A in a food service worker at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Warren.

The restaurant at 29287 Mound was inspected Tuesday, according to a release from the health department. The eatery has been approved to operate, and management worked with the health department in the investigation.

The health department is advising anyone who ate at the restaurant from March 24 through April 9 to watch for symptoms of hepatitis A, which include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, fever, chills and yellow skin and eyes or jaundice.

Symptoms can develop anywhere from 15 and 50 days after exposure, the health department said. People developing these symptoms should get medical care.

The health department also recommends a hepatitis A vaccine for previously unvaccinated people who consumed food at the restaurant from March 24 and April 9. Vaccination can prevent hepatitis A if given within 14 days after potential exposure. The vaccine is available at the county health department, some health care providers and pharmacies, according to the release.

Michigan is experiencing a serious hepatitis A outbreak. More than 800 cases have been reported statewide since August of 2016.

Hepatitis A infection is a contagious liver disease that is caused by ingesting the virus through contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by the feces of an infected person or contaminated food or water supply, according to the county health department.

According to the Oakland County Health Department, most people recover completely and death or serious illness is very rare, but may occur if a person is already ill or elderly. There is no specific treatment for the infection, but a doctor can recommend measures, such as rest, change in diet and guidelines to reduce the risk of spreading it to others.

Some of the best ways to prevent infection are to get vaccinated; wash hands after using the restroom and before eating or preparing meals; use your own towels, toothbrushes and eating utensils; do not have sex with someone who has hepatitis A infection, and do not share food, drinks, drugs or cigarettes with other people, according to the Macomb County Health Department.

The Macomb County Health Department has three locations: the Mt. Clemens Health Center, 43525 Elizabeth, in Mt. Clemens; the Southwest Health Center, 27690 Van Dyke, Suite B, in Warren, and the Southeast Family Resource Center, 25401 Harper, in St. Clair Shores.

Due to an ongoing outbreak of Hepatitis A, the Department for Public Health (DPH) within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is recommending vaccination for everyone residing in Jefferson, Bullitt, Hardin, Greenup, Carter and Boyd counties.

To date, 214 cases have been reported in the Jefferson County/Louisville area. Bullitt, Hardin, Greenup, Carter and Boyd counties have each reported 5 or more cases for a total 311 cases associated with the outbreak. One death has been reported.

“Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable illness. DPH recommends all children, ages 1 year through 18, receive the Hepatitis A vaccine as well as adults who want to protect themselves from an acute hepatitis A infection,” said Dr. Jeffrey Howard, acting DPH commissioner.  “In these counties with local transmission of the hepatitis A virus, we recommend everyone be vaccinated per guidelines to help stop this outbreak.”

For adults, the hepatitis A vaccine is typically given in two doses — an initial vaccination followed by another shot six months later. DPH recommends that all people in outbreak counties consult with their primary care doctor or insurance carrier regarding an in-network provider for administration of the hepatitis A vaccine. The Center for Disease and Control (CDC) recommends vaccination for people who wish to be protected against hepatitis A infection. For insured people, the hepatitis A vaccine should not require any out-of-pocket costs as long as policies are compliant with the federal Affordable Care Act.

Since 2006, the CDC has recommended children receive the hepatitis A vaccine series.  Effective July 1, 2018, all Kentucky students in kindergarten through 12th grade must receive two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine to attend school or receive a provisional certificate of immunization (unless their parents claim an exemption).

Signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), dark-colored urine, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and fever. The virus is found in the stool of people infected with Hepatitis A and typically spread from person to person contact. The disease often is transmitted when people do not wash their hands properly or do not have access to proper sanitation.  DPH recommends individuals wash their hands often and particularly after using the restroom or before consuming food. Hand sanitizer should be used only when soap and water is unavailable.

While the current hepatitis A outbreak is occurring primarily within specific at-risk populations, including people who use illicit drugs (both injection and non-injection) and the homeless, through person-to-person transmission.  Approximately, 30 percent of cases do not report any risk factors.  Therefore, it is recommended that children and adults in counties with local transmission of the virus as part of this outbreak receive the hepatitis A vaccine.

Hepatitis A vaccine is widely available at local pharmacies and health care providers. For additional information on the hepatitis A vaccination, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/afaq.htm#E1.