People Who Have Eaten At Charlotte Hardees May Have Been Exposed to Hepatitis A

June 26, 2018 - 5:45 pm
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) North Carolina health officials say a recent outbreak of Hepatitis A has been traced to a fast-food restaurant worker.

Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris told reporters Tuesday people who ate at the Hardee's on Little Rock Road in Charlotte between June 13 and June 23 should get a vaccination as soon as possible.

Harris said the Centers for Disease Control told the county that vaccinations must be given within 14 days of exposure to be effective, meaning people who ate at the Hardee's on June 13 need to get vaccinated immediately.

Local and state officials identified five new cases of Hepatitis A since June 6, including the Hardee's worker. Harris said it's believed the worker was infected somewhere other than the restaurant.

The county is opening three vaccination clinics.

More Information: 

Public Health vaccination clinics for customers who might have been exposed and for residents who meet the high-risk factors for hepatitis A will be held:

·Wednesday, June 27 from 8 a.m. – 7.p.m, and Thursday, June 28 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., at Northwest Health Department, 2845 Beatties Ford Rd. and Southeast Health Department, 249 Billingsley Rd., Charlotte. 

·Friday, June 29 from 3 p.m. – 8p.m. at the Hal Marshall Building, 700 N. Tryon St., Charlotte.

·Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Hal Marshall Building, 700 N. Tryon St, Charlotte.

People who dined at Hardees on Little Rock Road on June 13 and 14 are strongly urged to get a vaccination in the next two days. Those who have had a hepatitis A infection, or one hepatitis A vaccination, are protected from the virus and do not need to take action.

The high-risk factors include:

·         Those who are household members, caregivers, or have sexual contact with someone who is infected with hepatitis A

·         Men who have sexual encounters with other men

·         Those who use recreational drugs, whether injected or not

·         Recent travel from countries where hepatitis A is common

·         Homeless individuals who do not have easy access to handwashing facilities

 

The best ways to prevent hepatitis A include:

·         Get the hepatitis A vaccine;

·         Practice safe handwashing procedures – wash your hands under warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before you prepare food, and

·         Wear a condom during sexual activity.

 

Public Health staff continues to work with medical providers and community partners to educate residents about how to prevent hepatitis A and to implement a plan to educate and encourage vaccination of those most at-risk of contracting the virus. 

Since 2012, hepatitis A virus cases have been on the rise across the country. Between July 2016 to November 2017, the CDC reports 1200 cases have occurred nationally, including 826 hospitalizations and 37 deaths.  Outbreaks have occurred in California, Utah, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, and West Virginia.

Here are the facts about hepatitis A:

 

1.      It’s a highly contagious liver disease caused by a virus spread from person to person. The illness can last for weeks to months. Only acute cases are reportable in North Carolina.

2.      Hepatitis A spreads through the fecal-oral route, most commonly by forgetting to wash your hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers, having sexual contact with infected partners and eating or drinking foods contaminated by hepatitis A. 

3.      Hepatitis A symptoms include nausea, fever, yellowing of the eyes and skin, dark urine, grey feces, joint pain, feeling tired, loss of appetite and stomach pain.

4.      The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to get the hepatitis A vaccine and to practice safe handwashing procedures – wash your hands under warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before you prepare food. 

5.      Again, the most at-risk groups for hepatitis A are people who come into contact with someone who has hepatitis A, travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common, men who have sexual contact with men, people who use drugs (both injection and non-injection) and people with clotting factor disorders.

If you have potentially been exposed to hepatitis A and are unable to receive the vaccine watch for the symptoms listed above.  If you experience any of these symptoms, access medical care as soon as possible.

More information about hepatitis A is available at meckhealth.org.

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