Food Worker At 800 Degrees Three Fires Tests Positive For Hepatitis A (VIDEO)

By Emma Koch
By Krystal Shull

May 31, 2013 Updated Dec 2, 2013 at 2:20 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – Public health officials are advising some patrons of 800 Degrees Three Fires restaurant at Illinois Road to get vaccinated for Hepatitis A after a food worker at the restaurant tested positive for the virus.

Health officials are urging those patrons who ate or drank food from the restaurant between May 18 and May 26, 2013 and who have not already been vaccinated for hepatitis A, to get the vaccination.

The vaccine will be provided free of charge at the Southwest Allen County Schools Transportation Center at 4814 Homestead Road. The times are as follows:

· Saturday, June 1, Noon.-8 p.m.

· Sunday, June 2, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

This will be set up as a drive-thru clinic so people will receive the vaccination in their vehicles. If weather becomes an issue, the clinic may be moved indoors.

Children under age 18 need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

“We are asking these restaurant patrons to get this vaccination as a precautionary measure,” said Allen County Health Commissioner Deborah McMahan, MD. “Those who are having symptoms of the illness should not come to the vaccination clinic but should seek medical attention.”

Patrons who ate at the restaurant in the days prior to May 18, 2013 will not benefit from the vaccination, but should monitor themselves for symptoms of hepatitis A.

Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus that attacks the liver, causing fever, nausea, abdominal pain and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). It is spread through exposure to the fecal matter of an infected person, either through close person-to-person contact or contaminated food or water.

Once infected with hepatitis A, a person is capable of passing the virus for about two weeks before becoming ill until 10 days after symptoms begin. Symptoms usually last one to two weeks but can last longer. Severe complications are rare and occur more often in persons who have liver disease or a weakened immune system.

There is no specific treatment once symptoms appear, but a vaccination can help lessen the effects of the disease if given within 14 days of exposure.

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health received laboratory confirmation today of a positive hepatitis A case in a food worker at 800 degrees Three Fires at 5125 Illinois Road, near Interstate 69. The person last worked at the restaurant on May 26.

None of the other employees have hepatitis A symptoms, and so far, no other cases have been identified.

Managers at 800 Degrees are working closely and cooperatively with both local and state health officials in the current investigation, and the establishment remains open for business.

“This incident serves as a reminder of why it is so important that we have a well-trained and adequately funded public health workforce which can respond to urgent public health matters efficiently and effectively,” McMahan says.

The best way to control the spread of hepatitis A and many other illnesses is through proper hand washing, especially after using the restroom, changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food. Hand washing should include 20 seconds of vigorous soaping of all parts of the hands, especially between fingers and under fingernails.

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health has established an information line at (260) 449-4499 to provide answers to common questions about the hepatitis A vaccination clinics. The phone line will be staffed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 1. At other times callers may hear a prerecorded message.

For more information, visit www.allencountyhealth.com. You can also check for updates on Facebook and Twitter.

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