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Hepatitis Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Hepatitis News & Outbreaks

Hepatitis A Causes Utah Restaurant Scare

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department (SWUPHD) has received confirmation that a food handler working at a restaurant in Iron County has tested positive for hepatitis A.

The health department is seeking to alert customers who ate at the Pizza Cart in Cedar City from April 29th through June 1st, as they may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

Anyone previously vaccinated for hepatitis A is protected from infection.

Unvaccinated customers who ate at the restaurant from May 19th through June 1st should be treated with a hepatitis A vaccination (and immune globulin, depending on age). Treatment is available at the SWUPHD or your healthcare provider. People who visited the restaurant outside of these dates do not need preventive treatment. Contact the health department at 435-865-5148 for more information.

Customers who ate at the restaurant from April 29th through June 1st should contact their doctor or healthcare provider if they develop symptoms of hepatitis A; including jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

Hepatitis A Fears in New Jersey

According to the Camden County Health Department in New Jersey, a server at the Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in Voorhees, NJ, recently tested positive for the Hepatitis A virus. The health department has reportedly vaccinated the rest of the employees to protect them and keep the virus from spreading.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-person-receiving-vaccine-close-up-vaccination-protection-image34491574The restaurant issued a statement saying that the health department had immediately been contacted, the person was no longer at work, and that there was little to no risk to the public health from the person’s illness.

second confirmed case in Burlington County, NJ, involves a restaurant server who went to a Marlton, NJ, hospital with flu-like symptoms consistent with Hepatitis A infection. Lab results later confirmed that diagnosis. The individual has not returned to work.

Camden County health officials have been working with health officials in Burlington County and the New Jersey Department of Health to investigate the illnesses.

Arkansas Subway in Hepatitis A Spotlight

subwayindexThe Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is warning of a possible Hepatitis A Virus (Hep A) exposure after a Subway employee in Morrilton tested positive for the virus. The Subway is located at 1812 State Highway 9 Business, just off of Exit 108 on Interstate 40 in Morrilton.

Any individual, who has eaten food from the Morrilton Subway between March 25 and April 5 and is experiencing symptoms should contact their primary care provider immediately. Typical symptoms of Hep A include, but are not limited to: 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).

Hep A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. A person can transmit the virus to others up to 2 weeks before and one week after symptoms appear.

There are no specific treatments once a person gets Hep A. However, it can be prevented through vaccination or through receipt of a medicine called immune globulin. This medicine contains antibodies from other people who are immune to Hep A.

People without symptoms who have eaten at this Subway between March 25 and April 5 and are:

  • under 1 year of age, are too young to be vaccinated and may wish to seek out immune globulin from a health care provider.
  • between 1 year to 40 years of age, and if never vaccinated for Hep A, may wish to seek out vaccination from a health care provider.
  • 41 years old and older, and never vaccinated for Hep A, may wish to seek out immune globulin. Vaccine is not known to be effective in this group post-exposure.

As a matter of policy, employees at Subway use disposable gloves between customers and while preparing food. These behaviors have likely reduced the risk of illness to the public. Nevertheless, individuals who have eaten at this Subway between March 25 and April 5, who are pregnant or have severe chronic illness, in particular, liver-related disease, are encouraged to consult with their doctor and consider the above treatment.

The Conway County Health Unit, located at 100 Hospital Drive in Morrilton, will have immune globulin and Hep A vaccine, which can be administered upon request with an appointment on or after Wednesday, April 15. If you wish to get one of these medicines from the health department, call (501) 354-4652 to make an appointment.

At this time, no other Hep A illnesses have been reported to ADH; however, the virus can cause illness anytime from 2-7 weeks after exposure. If infected, most people will develop symptoms 3-4 weeks after exposure.

Hep A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter – even in microscopic amounts – from contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by the feces, or stool, of an infected person.

Many people, especially children, may have no symptoms. The older a person is when they get Hep A, typically the more severe symptoms they have.

Almost all people who get Hep A recover completely and do not have any lasting liver damage, although they may feel sick for months.

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.

Restaurant Workers to get Hepatitis A Vaccines?

Inactivated-Hepatitis-a-Vaccine-Healive-PFS--300x198Shawn Flynn of KWC News reports that a Charlotte restaurant owner is going on the offensive battling perception and health concern over Hepatitis A.

“The restaurant industry is thriving,” said Jon Dressler, owner of three Charlotte-area restaurants.

That’s one reason he opened his third shop last Fall, Dogwood Southern Table in SouthPark.  Last month, however, he received a call no one wants to get. “We were contacted by the Mecklenburg Health Department that one of our employees had contacted Hep A while on vacation,” said Dressler. “It’s not a cleanliness issue, it’s not an internal issue. The health department didn’t have to shut us down.”

The Health Department issued an alert asking everyone who was there over a two day period to get a vaccination.  That created a lot of concern.  “It impacted the business slightly at first. We were deluged with phone calls,” said Dressler.

Dressler quickly became an expert on Hepatitis A and batted the reality versus perception of it. “To put it bluntly, you have a better chance of winning the lottery in Mecklenburg County than contracting Hep A. Transmission of Hep A has never happened in the history of Meck County,” said Dressler.

Rather than being upset, Dressler has another idea.  “It would be wonderful if all of Mecklenburg County restaurant workers were required to have the Hep vaccination,” said Dressler.

Buffalo’s Casa di Pizza Link in Hepatitis A Worry

POLONCARZ, BURSTEIN ANNOUNCE PUBLIC HEALTH CLINICS TO PREVENT HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK

Confirmed Case of Hepatitis A in Local Restaurant Worker; Low Risk that Patrons during Specific March Time Frame May Have Been Exposed

County Executive, Health Commissioner Outline Precautionary Public Health Clinics for Response

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein to announce two precautionary public health clinics being held by the Erie County Department of Health (“ECDOH”) in response to the recent identification of the hepatitis A virus in a local restaurant worker, a server at Casa di Pizza on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. The point-of-distribution (“POD”) clinics will allow ECDOH to provide post-exposure prophylaxis (“PEP”) to prevent infection to individuals who may have been exposed.

“The county is activating these response clinics to ensure any dining room patron who may have been exposed to hepatitis A can speak to qualified health care professionals about their chance of being infected and receive an immunization shot if necessary. It is another example of how our Department of Health safeguards the public’s health,” said Poloncarz. “While the risk of transmission is low, anyone who may have dined at the restaurant during the time in question should check their immunization status and come to the clinics if necessary.”

Dine-in patrons of Casa-di-Pizza during a specific time frame may have been exposed to hepatitis A virus,” stated Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health. “Customers in the restaurant or banquet rooms are considered potentially exposed, not individuals who ordered take-out food or consumed food or drink from the bar. The risk of actually acquiring a hepatitis A infection from consuming food or drink at Casa-di-Pizza is extremely low,” emphasized Dr. Burstein. “Persons who have already completed the hepatitis A vaccine series are not at risk of developing hepatitis A virus infection from this potential exposure.”

Persons Who Dined in & Consumed Food/Drink from Casa-di-Pizza — only on the dates  below — are Candidates for Hepatitis A Vaccine or Immune Globulin:

Monday March 9, 2015 Tuesday March 10, 2015
Wednesday March 11, 2015 Thursday March 12, 2015
Friday March 13, 2015 Saturday March 14, 2015
Sunday March 15, 2015 Monday March 16, 2015
Tuesday March 17, 2015 Wednesday March 18, 2015
Thursday March 19, 2015

ONLY persons who consumed food/drink within the Casa-di-Pizza restaurant are affected.

NO take-out orders or bar food/drink were at risk.

The Hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin is only effective within two weeks of exposure to the virus. Patrons who ate in Casa-di-Pizza restaurant or banquet room on the specified dates (and have not been previously vaccinated against hepatitis A) should receive the hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin as soon as possible.

Point of Distribution Clinics

Monday, March 23, 2015         12 pm (noon) – 8:00 pm

Tuesday, March 24, 2015        8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Buffalo Niagara Convention Center 153 Franklin Street, Buffalo

Clinic Pre-registration is encouraged at  www.health.ny.gov/gotoclinic15 or attendees should bring their drivers’ license.

La Toque restaurant and the Bank Café and Bar at the Westin Verasa Napa Hotel in Napa Linked in Hepatitis A Scare

Westin-Verasa-Napa-HotelOfficials with the Napa County, CA, Public Health Division are investigating an unusual outbreak of Hepatitis A cases in the past two weeks, reportedly the first there in more than five years. The suspected source has not yet been announced.

Two of the five confirmed cases are employees at La Toque restaurant and the Bank Café and Bar at the Westin Verasa Napa Hotel in Napa, CA. The other three are not connected to the restaurants or other public places, health officials said.

People who ate or drank at either restaurant between Feb. 9 and Feb. 26 may have been exposed to the Hepatitis A virus and should monitor their condition for about 50 days, health officials said.

Those experiencing Hepatitis A symptoms are advised to contact a medical provider immediately. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, jaundice or yellowing of the eyes or skin.

Mecklenburg County Health Offering Hepatitis A Vaccines

Karen Garloch of the Charlotte Observer reports that the Mecklenburg County Health Department is offering Hepatitis A vaccine clinics for patrons who visited the Dogwood Southern Table and Bar during dinner hours on Feb. 4-Feb. 10.

A Dogwood employee who developed a hepatitis A infection did not prepare food, but was responsible for cleaning silverware and glasses and delivering food to tables. The employee did not work at the restaurant after Feb. 10, so there is no risk to patrons who ate at there after that date.

Health officials are encouraging people who visited the restaurant on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 to get vaccinated against hepatitis A at a clinic on Feb. 18 from noon to 5 p.m. at the health department’s 249 Billingsley Road location.

Immunizations will also be offered on Feb. 19 and 20, from noon to 5 p.m., for those who ate at the restaurant on February 7, 8, 9 or 10.

Hepatitis A vaccine can be given up to two weeks after a potential exposure to help prevent possible infection.

Hepatitis A Warning: Dogwood Southern Table and Bar in Charlotte, N.C.

A restaurant employee in Charlotte, NC, has tested positive for the Hepatitis A virus, according to the Mecklenburg County Health Department.

Health officials said the individual worked at the Dogwood Southern Table and Bar in Charlotte. The employee did not prepare food, they said, but was responsible for cleaning and polishing silverware and glasses and delivering food to tables.

Health department officials have advised staff members and patrons who visited the restaurant on the dates and times listed below that they may be at risk of developing the virus if they have not been vaccinated.

The dates and times of concern include:

Feb. 3, dinner service, last day to be immunized is Feb. 17

Feb. 4, dinner service, last day to be immunized is Feb. 18

Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed and has questions may contact the Mecklenburg County Health Department at (980) 314-0950.

Nanna’s Frozen Mixed Berry Recalled in Australia Due to Hepatitis A

Victoria’s health department has urged consumers to dispose of 1kg packets of Nanna’s Frozen Mixed Berry, which are sold in major supermarkets including Woolworths, Coles and IGA stores.

Nanna’s Frozen Mixed Berry 1kg packets shouldn’t be eaten if they have a best before date up to and including November 22, 2016.

Four adults, three in Victoria and one in NSW, have contracted potentially deadly Hepatitis A after consuming the imported fruit.

The health department has also told the company to recall the product, which is distributed by Patties in Victoria, but packed in China.

It contains strawberries, raspberries and blackberries from China and blueberries from Chile.

Hepatitis A is spread when traces of faecal matter containing the virus comes in contact with hands, water or food, and then enters a person’s mouth.

Another Hepatitis A Illness Linked to Rosa’s Restaurant

Another Hepatitis A case is being reported by a person who ate at the same restaurant in Hamilton Township.

Robbinsville Township health officials say the resident ate at Rosa’s Restaurant on 3442 South Broad Street during the time when a food handler reported having Hepatitis A.

The patient works in Hamilton Township. However, health officials say coworkers at the job only have a negligible risk.

The first case of Hepatitis A was confirmed last month in a worker at Rosa’s. In light of that, the township hosted a vaccination clinic at a local firehouse.

Then last week health officials announced two additional cases – a 53-year-old hair dresser and a 60-year-old part-time fitness instructor.

Both women reportedly thought they had the flu before they were diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

All three patients ate at Rosa’s in November while the employee worked there, but health officials say they can’t definitively link the new cases to the first.

Hepatitis A is spread through oral fecal transmission. It’s rarely fatal, but it is highly contagious, and symptoms can appear 2 to 6 weeks after exposure.