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DOH - SARASOTA identifies CASE of Hepatitis a in food service worker; encourages Vaccination

By G. Steve Huard, Public Information Officer

May 18, 2019

The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH - Sarasota) has identified a positive case of hepatitis A in a food service worker at Duval's in Sarasota. The employee may have exposed patrons between April 26 through May 10, 2019.

 

DOH - Sarasota conducted an epidemiological investigation and today determined the individual who worked at Duval's located at 1435 Main Street, Sarasota may have been infectious. If you frequented this restaurant during that period and have not previously been vaccinated for hepatitis A, you should consider getting vaccinated.

 

You will receive the first dose of the hepatitis A immunization. The second dose is provided six months after the first. If you have previously received the hepatitis A vaccine you do not need to take additional action.

 

The hepatitis A vaccine may provide protection against the disease if given within two weeks after exposure. Therefore, the hep A vaccine is recommended for anyone who ate, or drank at Duval's between May 3 through 10.

 

Patrons should monitor for symptoms of hepatitis A infection which include sudden onset of abdominal discomfort, dark urine, fever, diarrhea, pale white stools, and yellow skin and eyes (jaundice). Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention promptly. 

 

DOH - Sarasota is offering the hepatitis A vaccine for free at our Sarasota, and North Port Immunization Clinics.

 

DOH - Sarasota, 2200 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota 34237
Ringling Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursdays: 8 - 11 a.m. and 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Tuesdays: 8 - 11 a.m.
Fridays: 8 - 11 a.m. and 12:30 - 3:30 p.m.

 

DOH - Sarasota, North Port, 6950 Outreach Way, North Port 34287
North Port Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursdays: 8 - 11:30 a.m. and 1 - 4:30 p.m.
Tuesdays: 8 - 11:30 a.m.
Fridays: 8 - 11:30 a.m. and 1 - 3:30 p.m.

 

Concerned Duval's patrons can call DOH - Sarasota at (941) 861-2900 for hepatitis A information to receive a vaccine this weekend.

 

Sarasota County has seen a significant increase in hepatitis A cases. In 2019, the number of cases of locally identified hepatitis A infections in Sarasota County is 7, compared to 2 cases in 2018, and 2 cases from 2014-2016.

 

DOH - Sarasota is encouraging all healthcare providers, including hospital emergency departments to stay on high alert and immediately report cases to DOH - Sarasota.

 

Contact your county's health department for hepatitis A vaccinations if you live outside Sarasota County. Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A. People who should be vaccinated for hepatitis A include:

  • All children at the age of 12 months
  • 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. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.