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Hepatitis Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Hepatitis News & Outbreaks

Another Reason for Hepatitis A Vaccines – Your Restaurant Remains Closed

Tortilla Marissa’s, a Mexican restaurant in Fort Collins, CO, will not reopen until August 9 because of the Hepatitis A scare that the restaurant faced at the end of June, according to the Coloradoan.

The Larimer County Health Department has advised the owners to keep the restaurant closed that long due to the virus’ relatively long incubation period, which averages 28 days but can last up to 50 days in some cases.

The restaurant originally closed on June 27, a day after an employee tested positive for the virus, which has a high risk of being spread when an infected person handles food. In total, the restaurant will be closed 43 days.

The only way the owners could legally open before that would be to hire an entirely new staff.

The county health department administered roughly 800 vaccines to restaurant patrons following the incident, but many did not opt to receive a vaccine. No other cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in connection to Tortilla Marissa’s.

The restaurant received an “inadequate” rating after an inspection in late May, a month before the incident. In two follow-up inspections, the restaurant earned “good” and “excellent” ratings.

The owners say that the closure time will allow them to address the remaining concerns presented by the inspections.

Another Hepatitis A Scare: Tortilla Marissa’s Restaurant Worker

The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment is advising the public about a possible exposure to hepatitis A virus at the Tortilla Marissa’s restaurant located at 2635 S. College Avenue in Fort Collins.

A food worker employed at Tortilla Marissa has tested positive for hepatitis A, a disease that might be passed to others through food directly handled by the employee before any symptoms appeared.  The restaurant is cooperating fully in the investigation and has agreed to voluntarily close until approved by the Department to reopen.  The risk of transmission to others occurred primarily in June 2014, but there is a very low risk that transmission might extend back to May of this year.  As of today, any customers have reported no secondary cases, but the disease has a long incubation period (time from infection to illness) of 14-50 days,

2300 Hepatitis A Vaccines Linked to Springfield Red Robin

KSPR’s Jeff Phillips reports that Springfield Health officials have now administered more than 2,300 doses of the hepatitis A vaccine. Clinics offered by Mercy Springfield and Cox Health Systems treated a total of 300 people Saturday. Each also ran clinics Sunday in the aftermath of an exposure at the Red Robin restaurant in Springfield this month.

On Monday, vaccinations will be available from noon to 4 at:

Mercy’s urgent care at the Smith Glynn Callaway building at 3231 S. National Avenue and Cox’s urgent care at the Turner Center at 1000 E. Primrose.

On Tuesday, the health department will administer vaccines from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the department’s Westside Public Health Center.

On May 20, health department officials learned of a food service worker at the local Red Robin restaurant who had tested positive for Hepatitis A. Individuals potentially exposed to the Hepatitis A virus dined at the restaurant between May 8 and 16.

Red Robin Hit with another Hepatitis A Problem

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department administered 2,011 vaccines during a two-day, no-cost clinic on May 22 and 23 to protect the public against a possible Hepatitis A exposure.

On May 20, health department officials learned of an individual who had tested positive for Hepatitis A. After learning that individual was a food service worker at the local Red Robin restaurant, department leadership decided to alert the public out of an abundance of caution.
Individuals potentially exposed to the Hepatitis A virus dined at the restaurant between May 8 and 16.

The department organized no-cost vaccination clinics Thursday, May 22 and Friday, May 23. There, 2,011 vaccines were given. There was also additional vaccine distributed to other local public health partners.

No-cost clinics will continue over the Memorial Day weekend through CoxHealth and Mercy Springfield.

  • Mercy’s vaccines will be available from noon to 4 p.m. May 24-26 at the Smith Glynn Callaway building’s urgent care at 3231 S. National Ave.
  • Cox’s vaccines will also be available from noon to 4 p.m. May 24-26 at the Turner Center’s urgent care at 1000 E. Primrose.

Starting Tuesday, individuals who still need vaccine can visit the Health Department’s Westside Public Health Center at 660 S. Scenic Ave. from 7:30 to 10 a.m.


Red Robin Reports Hepatitis A Worry

The Pocono Record reports that the Pennsylvania Department of Health is investigating a situation involving a Red Robin restaurant employee who was diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

“The Disease Prevention and Control Law prohibits us from providing further details as the investigation is ongoing at this time,” said Aimee Tysarczyk, press secretary/director of communications for the state Health Department.  “As the investigation continues and if any public health risks evolve, the department will provide additional information to ensure the safety and well-being of the public, as needed,” Tysarczyk said.

In a statement to the Pocono Record, Red Robin said:

“On May 5, 2014, Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group was informed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health that an employee at the Red Robin restaurant in Stroudsburg, Pa., had contracted Hepatitis A.  The employee has not been in the restaurant since April 27, 2014, and will not return to work until he has been granted medical clearance.”

At this time, the Pennsylvania Department of Health does not believe there is a risk to the general public; however, guests who visited the Stroudsburg Red Robin restaurant between April 16 – May 5 can contact the department at 1-877-PA-HEALTH with any questions or concerns.

Indianapolis Teavana Store Patrons at Hepatitis A Risk Urged to Get Vaccines

The Marion County Public Health Department announced that visitors to an Indianapolis business during three Saturdays in April may have been exposed to Hepatitis A.

Anyone who visited and drank tea prepared at the Teavana store, 8702 Keystone Crossing, on Saturdays, April 5, 12 and 19 should watch for signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A. The public is advised to watch for signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A and contact a health care provider immediately if any symptoms are present.

Marion County Public Health Department director Dr. Virginia A. Caine says Hepatitis A is caused by a virus that inflames the liver. Hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of Hepatitis A. Thorough hand washing after using the bathroom and before eating or preparing food can help lower the risk of getting the virus.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)

Not everyone infected by the virus will exhibit all of these symptoms. Some people, especially children, may have no symptoms at all. However, all infected persons can transmit the disease to others.

People who visited and drank tea prepared at the store on Saturday, April 5 and Saturday, April 12 are beyond the incubation period of the virus and should watch for signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A. Anyone who visited the store and drank tea on Saturday, April 19 is still within the incubation period and should receive vaccine or immune globulin to prevent the disease. Those age 40 and under should receive Hepatitis A vaccine, while people over the age of 40 should receive immune globulin.

The Marion County Public Health Department will offer vaccine or immune globulin free of charge for individuals who visited the store and drank tea on Saturday, April 19. They should call the health department’s immunization program at 317-221-2122 to find out which district health office they should visit to receive the vaccine or immune globulin free of charge.

Thousands seek Hepatitis A vaccines after exposure at Charlotte Papa John’s

According to Amanda Harris of the Charlotte North Carolina Observer, at least 1,650 Charlotte residents sought hepatitis A vaccines after being exposed at the Papa John’s at 8016 Cambridge Commons Drive, where an employee was recently diagnosed with the virus.
Residents flocked to the clinic at the Cato campus of Central Piedmont Community College on Sunday.  The clinic saw about 350 people over roughly 4 1/2 hours, said Rick Christenbury, a Mecklenburg County spokesman.The Health Department location at 2845 Beatties Ford Road will operate extended hours on Monday to accommodate walk-ins and will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Anyone who ate at the Papa John’s on Cambridge Commons Drive between March 30 and April 7 should get a hepatitis A vaccination, Christenbury said. The vaccine is effective for those exposed within the last 14 days.

Hepatitis A Week: Charlotte, North Carolina Papa John’s and Nyack, New York La Fontana

Charlotte North Carolina: A Papa John’s outlet is to blame for a Hepatitis A scare, according to the Mecklenburg County Health Department.

Anyone who ate food from the location on March 28 and 29 should get the Hepatitis A vaccine immediately.

Officials are looking into a potential Hepatitis A outbreak from the Papa John’s location in the 8000 block of Cambridge Commons in Charlotte, near Harrisburg Road and I-485.

According to the health department, a manager at that restaurant, who recently traveled out of the country, contracted Hepatitis A and may have infected Papa John’s patrons.

Anyone who ate food from that location between March 24 and April 7 may have been exposed. About 2,400 people could have been exposed.

Clinics have been established at the Cabarrus County Health Department and Mecklenburg County Health Department on Beatties Ford Road. They will be open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. About 5,000 vaccines have been ordered. The vaccine will work within 14 days of exposure and is free.

Nyack New York:  A confirmed case of acute Hepatitis A has been identified in a food handler at the La Fontana restaurant in Nyack. Patrons and other employees may have been exposed to Hepatitis A virus between March 19 and April 1, 2014.

The Health Department will offer free Hepatitis A vaccine to restaurant patrons and employees starting Saturday, April 12 from 11 am – 5 pm, Sunday, April 13 from 11 am to 3 pm and Monday, April 14 from 9 am to 12 pm at the Rockland County Fire Training Center, 35 Firemen’s Memorial Dr. in Pomona.

The Rockland County Department of Health is recommending that all people who ate at the restaurant on March 29, March 30 and April 1, 2014 receive Hepatitis A vaccine. Patrons who ate at the restaurant between March 19 and March 28 will not benefit from vaccination. In order for the vaccine to be most effective, people who have been exposed to Hepatitis A should be vaccinated within 14 days. The earlier the vaccine is given, the more effective it is in preventing the disease. In general, the vaccine is 80% to 90% effective.

Restaurant patrons may also receive vaccine at their medical provider’s office. People who were exposed but have already received two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine sometime in their life do not need another shot; all others should be vaccinated.

28 with Hepatitis A in Norway

A total of 28 cases of hepatitis A infection have been reported over the last few months in Norway, where this disease is said to be rare, local health officials said.

Health authorities, who were worried by the growing number of hepatitis A cases, are working to determine whether the sick people are infected from a common source.

In almost half of the cases, the patients were found to have infected with hepatitis A virus while traveling abroad,

The remaining half got infected in Norway, which was described as a rare occurrence.

Infection of hepatitis A virus can also occur through person to person contact.

Symptoms of hepatitis include fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and jaundice.

New Zealand Apples and Peaches Recalled Over Hepatitis A Exposure

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is cautioning New Zealand consumers of a small quantity of fresh fruit sold in late February and early March that there is a relatively low risk that this fruit had been contaminated with Hepatitis A virus.

MPI Deputy Director General Scott Gallacher says it is important that consumers understand the risk of transmission of the virus is relatively low, but MPI is issuing this information as a precaution so that people with any related concerns about their health can contact their doctor.

“As always, MPI is placing the health and wellbeing of all consumers first.

“We have been advised that a person packing some varieties of apples and peaches in a Hawke’s Bay packhouse has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

“This worker handled Royal Gala and New Zealand Beauty apples and Golden Queen peaches over a four day period while they would have been infectious. Hepatitis A virus can remain infectious on the surface of fruit for some months and transmit infection to other handlers and consumers.

Mr Gallacher says while some potentially affected fruit has been traced and withdrawn from sale, it is expected that approximately 1400 cartons have been sold, with fruit either consumed or still in some people’s homes.

Mr Gallacher says all fruit involved in this case was for domestic New Zealand supply and has not been exported.

The fruit concerned was on sale between 27 February and 13 March 2014 at the following outlets.

Royal Gala apples from:

All Countdown supermarkets in the North Island.
The following Christchurch retailers – G Morris and Son, Fresh Connection, United Fresh, Edgeware Supervalue.

Golden Queen peaches from:

All Countdown supermarkets in the North Island.
Pak n Save, New World and Four Square supermarkets from Taupo to Kaitaia.

The following Auckland retailers –  Dahua Supermarket (Albany), Lim Chour (K-Road), Fruit World Pioneer Plaza (Henderson), Manukau Fresh Fruit and Vege, Fresh for Less (Henderson), Save Fruit and Vege Shop (Manukau), Green Field Fruit and Vege (Green Bay), New Lynn Fresh.

Also Fresh World in Hawera.

New Zealand Beauty apples from:

All Countdown, Fresh Choice and Super Value supermarkets in the South Island.

The Ministry recommends people who bought potentially affected fruit between 27 February and 13 March 2014 to either cook the fruit well before eating, or if in doubt, throw it out.

“The possibility of infection is relatively low, but along with the Ministry of Health, we advise anyone who becomes ill with the following symptoms contact their doctor. Look out for skin jaundice (yellowish tinge), yellowing of the whites of eyes, dark coloured urine and pale bowel motions. Early signs of Hepatitis A are fever, loss of appetite, stomach pains and nausea.