The Dare County, North Carolina Department of Public Health issued a warning to all patrons who ate at the Player’s Grille at Nags Head Golf Links on July 14 and 18, 2006. A restaurant employee who worked at the Player’s Grille on those days was recently diagnosed with hepatitis A, a virus that can lead to liver failure. Because the employee was infectious while working, the Dare County Health Department is encouraging all people who ate at the restaurant on July 14 and 18 to receive Immune globulin injections to prevent hepatitis A infection.
Symptoms of hepatitis A infection, which include muscle aches, headache, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, fever, and malaise, may not appear for 15-50 days after exposure to the virus; however, individuals who contract hepatitis A are infectious and can unknowingly spread the virus for at least two weeks before they begin to exhibit symptoms. Inoculation with Immune globulin serum can prevent hepatitis A infection among individuals who receive the injection within two weeks of exposure.
“The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that all children receive vaccinations against hepatitis A starting in 2006, which will go a long way toward preventing future outbreaks, but until the kids who are now receiving immunizations are old enough to become food handlers, it’s important for food service employees to be vaccinated against hepatitis A and practice proper hygiene,” said William Marler, a Seattle attorney who has dedicated his practice to food safety advocacy and representing victims of foodborne illness outbreaks.
The Dare County Health Department encouraged customers who ate or drank at the Player’s Grille between July 1 and July 13 to be on the lookout for symptoms of hepatitis A infection, as the two-week period for receiving inoculations against the virus had already passed for them. “Restaurants should act now and vaccinate all employees against hepatitis A to reduce the potential for exposure to this potentially deadly virus,” Marler added.