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.