The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit says a food handler working at the Family Place Restaurant and Pizza in Huntsville was carrying the Hepatitis A virus.

“We believe the risk of transmission is low; however, as a precaution, exposed people should monitor for signs and symptoms for 50 days,” said Dr. Colin Lee, Associate Medical Officer of Health. “The disease can result in a liver infection and can be a greater health risk for older adults and those with liver disease. The Hepatitis A vaccine is an effective protection against the disease.”

The health unit urges a Hepatitis A vaccine to anyone who worked or dined at, or had takeout from the restaurant on the following dates and times:

Feb 26: 5:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Feb 27, 28, 29, Mar 1st: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
March 4: 6 a.m. – 8 a.m.
March 7: 8 a.m. – 9 a.m.

The vaccine is no longer effective more than 14 days after exposure. Customers or employees should monitor for symptoms of the disease if they ate at the restaurant on these dates:

Feb 19: 5:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Feb 21: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Feb 22, 23:6 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The Health Unit stresses it is not a direct reflection on the restaurant, as the disease can happen at any time in any setting. Free immunization clinics are being held at the Canada Summit Centre (Active Living Centre located at the back of the Summit Centre), 20 Park Drive, Huntsville, on:

Wednesday, March 11: 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Thursday, March 12: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday, March 13: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Hepatitis A is spread from person-to-person by putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool/poo of a person that has the Hepatitis A virus. The virus can contaminate food, drinks, surfaces, and everyday objects. Once infected, a person can pass the virus to others for two weeks or more before they even know they are sick.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus. Symptoms of Hepatitis A usually develop about four weeks after exposure to the virus, although this period can range from 15 to 50 days. Symptoms can include fever, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, a general feeling of being unwell, followed by a few days of jaundice. People who are immunocompromised, are older, or have a pre-existing chronic liver disease are more at risk of serious illness.

For information about Hepatitis A or if you are experiencing symptoms and have dined or had takeout at this restaurant on any of the dates noted above, please call Health Connection at 721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 ext. 5875. Hours have been extended to 8 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday. You may also follow up with your primary healthcare provider.