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DOH-Hillsborough Identifies Case Of Hepatitis A in Food Service Worker; Encourages Vaccination

By Kevin Watler, P.I.O.

October 25, 2018

The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County (DOH-Hillsborough) has identified a positive case of hepatitis A in a food service worker in Ybor City. Following lab confirmation on Monday, October 22, DOH-Hillsborough immediately began conducting an epidemiological investigation and today determined the individual worked at Hamburger Mary’s Bar and Grille located at 1800 East 8th Avenue in Tampa between October 4 – 20.

If you frequented this restaurant October 4 – 20, and have not previously been vaccinated for hepatitis A, you should be vaccinated. If you have previously received the hepatitis A vaccine you do not need to take additional action. DOH-Hillsborough is offering the vaccine at the Sulphur Springs location, located at 8605 Mitchell Ave, Tampa, FL 33604.

DOH-Hillsborough extended its hours of operation at the Sulphur Springs location for those who need to receive the hepatitis A vaccine. The clinic will be open today until 7 p.m. and from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday. Saturday, the clinic will be open from 9 a.m. to noon. Regular hours, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. will resume on Monday.

DOH-Hillsborough is encouraging all healthcare providers, including hospital emergency departments to stay on high alert and immediately report cases to the Florida Department of Health.

A 24-hour hotline has been set up for people who have questions about Hepatitis A. The number to call is 813-307-8004.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A. People who should be vaccinated for hepatitis A include:

  • All children at age 1 year
  • People who are experiencing homelessness
  • Users of recreational drugs, whether injected or not
  • Men who have sexual encounters with other men
  • People with direct contact with others who have hepatitis A
  • Travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common
  • People with chronic or long-term liver disease, including hepatitis B or hepatitis C
  • People with clotting-factor disorders
  • Family and caregivers of adoptees from countries where hepatitis A is common

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious disease that attacks the liver. People infected with hepatitis A are most contagious from two weeks before onset of symptoms to one week afterwards. Not everyone who is infected will have all the symptoms. Symptoms usually start within 28 days of exposure to the virus with a range of 15-50 days. Symptoms can include:  

  • Jaundice (yellowing skin and whites of eyes)
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue/tired
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Pale or clay colored stool

 

How is hepatitis A treated or hepatitis A infection prevented?

  • Hepatitis A vaccine is the best method of preventing infection.
  • No medicines can cure the disease once symptoms appear. People with hepatitis A symptoms should seek medical care immediately.
  • Most people get better over time but may need to be hospitalized.
  • Previous infection with hepatitis A provides immunity for the rest of a person’s life.
  • People that are exposed to hepatitis A may be given vaccine or immune globulin within 14 days of exposure to prevent infection.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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