In response to a case of Hepatitis A in a food handler at Alta restaurant in the West Village, the Health Department today urges patrons who ate dessert at the restaurant between March 23rd and April 2nd to get Hepatitis A vaccination as a precautionary measure. Hepatitis A is spread by putting something in your mouth (even though it might look clean) that has been contaminated with traces of fecal matter from an infected person. Symptoms include jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea.

Any patron who ate dessert at Alta from March 23rd – April 2nd is considered at risk and is recommended to receive a preventive vaccine. The Health Department is working with the restaurant to obtain as many names as possible of people who may have been exposed and will contact each of them directly. Patrons can also call 311 for more information.

The restaurant owners, who are cooperating fully with the Health Department, estimate that about 3,000 people may have visited on these nights with about 15% having eaten dessert. No additional cases of illness have been identified.

People can visit their regular doctor to receive this shot. Pregnant women are urged to consult with their doctor to discuss whether to receive vaccine or a different preventive treatment. The Health Department will also offer free Hepatitis A vaccinations to patrons starting tomorrow at the Chelsea Health Center, 303 Ninth Avenue, 1st Floor in Manhattan at the following times:

Saturday, April 6: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Sunday, April 7: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Monday, April 8: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

HepAmcdonalds.jpgCustomers of McDonald’s, located at 2000 McFarland Blvd, Northport may have been exposed to hepatitis A virus through an infected employee. If you visited this McDonald’s any time on March 14, 2012, or during breakfast hours on March 16, 2012, please contact your health care provider as soon as possible. If you do not have a health care provider, you may contact the Tuscaloosa County Health Department at (205) 562-6900.

According to Dr. Donald Williamson, State Health Officer, “Hepatitis A vaccine and immune globulin can prevent hepatitis A virus infection, but only when given within 14 days of exposure.” Therefore, individuals exposed on March 14, 2012, or March 16, 2012, should receive treatment no later than this Friday, March 30, 2012. Individuals previously vaccinated with hepatitis A vaccine are considered protected from this exposure.

Customers visiting this McDonald’s between Feb. 28 and March 14 may have been exposed and become ill. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis A virus infection appear 2 to 6 weeks after exposure and commonly include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, dark urine, light stools, and jaundice (yellowness of eyes or skin). The disease varies in severity, from mild cases lasting 2 weeks or less to more severe cases lasting 4 to 6 weeks or longer. If you become ill, please contact your health care provider immediately.

Hepatitis A virus spreads when a person ingests contaminated food or water, or is exposed to contaminated objects. Persons are at increased risk of acquiring hepatitis A virus when they have been in close and continuous contact with an infected individual, particularly in a household. Frequent thorough handwashing with warm water and soap for 20 seconds is key to stopping the spread of hepatitis A virus. Handwashing should include the back of the hands, wrists, between fingers and under fingernails.

At least 565 cases of hepatitis A were associated with an outbreak at the Chi Chi’s Restaurant in Monaca, Pennsylvania, in 2003. There were 128 hospitalizations and three deaths. As a result of exposure to the restaurant food or outbreak cases, more than 9,000 persons were given an injection of immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A. Numerous secondary illnesses occurred when infected persons who had eaten at the restaurant infected their close contacts. This outbreak, and concurrent outbreaks, were associated with eating raw, or undercooked, green onions that had been grown in Mexico and served in restaurants.

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Officials at the Labrador-Grenfell Regional Health Authority say there is a case of hepatitis A in their region.

The health authority says the person affected was outside the country for a time and is a worker at a Tim Hortons outlet in Labrador City.

Officials are advising residents who consumed food or beverages at the Tim Hortons between July 3 to 6, and who have symptoms of hepatitis A, to contact their family doctor.

Hepatitis A, an acute infectious disease of the liver, is caused by a virus that can be transmitted through contaminated food or drink.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, an upset stomach, diarrhea, jaundice and darkening of the urine.

People travelling overseas are not able to get all the vaccinations they need because of a global shortage of the hepatitis A vaccine.

medisiner-havrix-syringe.jpgA spokeswoman from the Department of Health and Ageing says pharmaceutical companies are working to address the shortage and priority is being given to travellers.

Lisa Maguire from pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline says it is hard to say why there has been a bigger than usual uptake of the vaccine.

“It’s really hard to know why there can be peaks and troughs, but we can certainly make an assumption there’s been some increased travel and in turn there’ll be extra need for this vaccine,” she said.

“And what happens is there are a number of companies that supply the hepatitis A vaccine to the market. And if there’s a supply issue with any company, that will cause a shortage.”

Hepatitis A infects the liver, causing sickness for up to a month.

Hepatitis A is a communicable (or contagious) disease that spreads from person to person. It is transmitted by the “fecal – oral route,” generally from person-to-person, or via contaminated food or water. Food-related outbreaks are usually associated with contamination of food during preparation by an HAV-infected food handler (CDC, 2009c). The food handler is generally not ill: the peak time of infectivity (that is, when the most virus is present in the stool of an infectious individual) occurs during the 2 weeks before illness begins. Fresh produce contaminated during cultivation, harvesting, processing, and distribution has also been a source of hepatitis A (Fiore, 2004). In 1997, frozen strawberries were determined to be the source of a hepatitis A outbreak in five states (Hutin, et al., 1999), and in 2003, fresh green onions were identified as the source of a hepatitis A outbreak traced to consumption of food at a Pennsylvania restaurant (Wheeler, et al., 2005). Other produce, such as blueberries and lettuce, has been associated with hepatitis A outbreaks in the U.S. as well as other developed countries (Butot et al., 2008; Calder et al., 2003).

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HAV is relatively stable and can survive for several hours on fingertips and hands and up to two months on dry surfaces, but can be inactivated by heating to 185°F (85°C) or higher for one minute or disinfecting surfaces with a 1:100 dilution of sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) in tap water (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices [ACIP], 2006; CDC, 2009c; Todd et al., 2009). However, HAV can still be spread from cooked food if it is contaminated after cooking.

Although ingestion of contaminated food is a common means of spread for hepatitis A, it may also be spread by household contact among families or roommates, sexual contact, by the ingestion of contaminated water or shellfish (like oysters), and by direct inoculation from persons sharing illicit drugs. Children often have asymptomatic or unrecognized infections and can pass the virus through ordinary play, unknown to their parents, who may later become infected from contact with their children.

Screen shot 2011-01-09 at 9.19.07 PM.png100’s more received shots against Hepatitis A at a Massapequa Park church as health officials explained why it took them several days to discover more people were potentially exposed than originally thought. The Nassau County Health Department first learned during the New Year’s weekend that someone involved in the Communion process at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church during Christmas services was infected with hepatitis A, department spokeswoman Mary Ellen Laurain said. Monday, the department announced it would hold vaccination clinics Tuesday and Wednesday for people who received Communion at the 10:30 a.m. and noon Masses on Christmas Day. But it was not until they re-interviewed people involved, Laurain said, that health officials learned Communion hosts touched by the infected person at the first two Masses may have been mixed in with hosts used in at six subsequent Masses – one on Christmas and five the next day, a Sunday. Catholic churches commonly mix leftover hosts at the end of Masses in a ciborium, or bowl.

The Cabell Huntington Health Department is closely working with a small community in the Milton area to monitor the Hepatitis A outbreak. To date there have been 11 confirmed Hepatitis A cases which include children and adults. A special clinic was held on Tuesday, December 28th at Chestnut Grove Fellowship Hall on Barkers Ridge Road from 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM. This clinic was held to educate and vaccinate those community members who are currently at risk.

Vaccine was offered free of charge for those children and adults who attended the clinic. 106 people were vaccinated on December 28th, 2010. The health department is currently working to identify ALL potential contacts. Persons recently exposed (within 2 weeks) to a confirmed case of hepatitis A should receive prophylaxis (vaccine or immune globulin) and it is available for adults and children. If you or your child is a potential contact a health department official will contact you.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a virus, which is found in the stool (bowel movement) of an infected person. People with hepatitis A can be very sick and usually need to see a doctor in order to get better. There is no treatment for hepatitis A however; Hepatitis A is a vaccine preventable disease.

Hands that have not been washed after going to the bathroom or by touching items such as diapers or linens soiled by bowel movement spread this disease from person to person. It can also be spread by water or ice and by eating foods that may have become contaminated during handling. Hepatitis A can also be spread by sharing items such as eating utensils, cups, cigarettes, lip balm or other items used to take drugs

Symptoms include:

·Tiredness

·Stomach pain

·Fever

·Dark urine

·Loss of appetite

·Yellowing of the skin and eyeballs (jaundice)

·Nausea

·Vomiting

·Diarrhea or Abnormal stools (pale & floating)

How can hepatitis A be prevented?

·Always wash your hands after using the bathroom.

·Always wash your hands after cleaning the toilet.

·Always wash your hands after changing diapers

·Always wash your hands after handling soiled towels or linens.

·Always wash your hands before fixing food or eating

·If exposed to hepatitis A, ask you doctor about immune globulin.

·If traveling to areas where hepatitis A is common get an immune globulin or vaccination before travel, drink bottled beverages, and do not eat uncooked fruits or vegetables, unless you peel them yourself.

Five cases of Hepatitis A have now been confirmed in Cabell County.

According to the Cabell County Health Department, three of those cases have been reported at Milton Elementary.

Jedd Flowers, Director of Communications for Cabell County Schools, said the three cases reported are closely related and there is no cause for alarm.

Flowers said the school has been thoroughly cleaned. And today, school and health officials had a clinic at Milton Elementary for students wanting a Hepatitis A vaccination.

Approximately 150 to 200 people who were potentially exposed to hepatitis A have been contacted by the Cabell-Huntington Health Department and urged to attend a special vaccine clinic from noon to 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20, at Milton Elementary School.

Five cases of hepatitis A were reported in Eastern Cabell County last week and are still being investigated by the Health Department, spokeswoman Elizabeth Ayers said Monday morning. No additional cases have been reported, she said.

The five cases include both adults and children. Everyone who was exposed to a confirmed case within the past two weeks has been contacted, Ayers said. The vaccine clinic in Milton is geared toward those people, she said.

Hepatitis A is transmitted through fecal-oral contact, and hand-washing is stressed to prevent the spread of the disease. It is not spread by blood-to-blood contact like hepatitis B or C.

Symptoms usually appear 15-50 days after exposure and can include, fever, jaundice, grey-colored stools, dark urine, abdominal pain, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and joint pain. Some people, especially children, may have no symptoms, which is why proper handwashing is critical, health officials say.

The disease is preventable, with vaccines available to both children and adults in a series of two doses six months apart. Most children younger than 4 are immunized since pediatricians have recently begun recommending the vaccine.

Adults and children older than 4 are urged to get the vaccine. Those who have received one dose of the vaccine and have been exposed should get a second dose. Once receiving both doses, the vaccine lasts a lifetime.

In addition to Monday’s clinic in Milton, the vaccine is offered at the health department from 8 to 11 a.m. or 1 to 3 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The cost is $27 per shot for adults.

For more information, call the Health Department at 304-526-3397 or www.cabellhealth.org.