Potential Hepatitis A Exposure in Humphreys County

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 | 06:00pm

Employee at Carol’s Restaurant Tests Positive for Hepatitis A

Waverly, January 5, 2006

A food handler employed at Carol’s Restaurant, 456 West Main Street in Waverly, is confirmed to be infected with Hepatitis A. Customers who have eaten at Carol’s Restaurant on December 23, 24, 27 or 28 between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. should visit their local health department or primary care physician as soon as possible to seek preventative treatment.

Public health officials have determined that people who have recently eaten at Carol’s Restaurant in Waverly may be at risk for developing Hepatitis A, with the highest risk for persons who have eaten uncooked foods (salads, garnishes and toppings) or had iced drinks. However, there is no ongoing risk of disease spread at this restaurant and it is safe to continue to eat there. Immune serum globulin (IsG) provides protection against infection with Hepatitis A only if given within 14 days of exposure. Because of this, the last opportunity for persons eating on December 23 to receive treatment will be Friday, January 6.

Persons who ate at Carol’s Restaurant in Waverly between 1 pm and 8:30 pm on December 23, 24, 27 or 28 may receive the injection free of charge at the Humphreys County Health Department, located at 725 Holly Lane in Waverly, open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The health department will extend their closing time to 6 p.m. on Friday, January 6 and will be open Saturday, January 7 from 9 a.m. to noon. Patients who wish to make an appointment or need more information are asked to call the Humphreys County Health Department at (931) 296-2231.

Bill Leach, Humphreys County director, stated that the number one concern in providing this public notification was to protect the health of the public and prevent further cases of Hepatitis A. “Although the risk to customers of this establishment is low, the health department is doing everything possible to prevent any possibility of further problems. The preventive treatment is effective only within the first two weeks of exposure, so affected persons should contact the health department promptly.”

Hepatitis A is a virus that may be spread from person to person through close contact, or through contaminated food. The early signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A appear two to six weeks after exposure and commonly include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, dark urine and jaundice (yellow skin). The disease varies in severity, with mild cases lasting two weeks or less, and more severe cases lasting four to six weeks or longer. However, even mildly ill persons can still be highly infectious. Persons with illness suggestive of hepatitis should consult a physician even if symptoms are mild. Such persons should not prepare or handle food for anyone until they are cleared by their physician.

People are urged to be particularly thorough in hand washing after toileting and prior to food preparation to avoid any potential for spread of the disease. Hand washing should include vigorous soaping of the hands, and all surfaces of the hands should be washed.

For more information about Hepatitis A, please visit the Department of Health’s Web site at www.tn.gov/health/.

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