An employee who worked at the Lancaster restaurant Al-E-Oops and the Brookdale Williamsville Senior Living Facility may have exposed 346 patrons and nursing home residents to hepatitis A. The contagious liver virus can be transmitted through contaminated food and water and close contact with an infected person.

Patrons of the restaurant, located at 5389 Genesee St., and the nursing home, may have been exposed to the virus in late January, announced Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and Health Commissioner Gale R. Burstein. The food prep employee who worked there tested positive for the hepatitis A virus on Monday.

The county is offering an emergency vaccination clinic on from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Bowmansville Volunteer Fire Station No. 1, located at 36 Main St. in Bowmansville.

Restaurant patrons who could benefit from either a hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin injection would have eaten at the restaurant between Jan. 27-30, county officials said. Those who patronized Al-E-Oops between Jan. 16-26 may have been exposed to the disease but would not benefit from an injection. Those who patronized the restaurant after Jan. 30 are at no risk.

Yesterday, the Salt Lake County Board of Health amended Health Regulation #5: Food Sanitation to require hepatitis A vaccination for all food workers in an establishment when anyone working in that establishment has been in contact with someone infected with hepatitis A. This amendment is in response to Salt Lake County’s ongoing hepatitis A outbreak and takes effect immediately, on February 1, 2018.

At least 181 people have been sickened in the Salt Lake area.

“Throughout this outbreak, we’ve identified that some people infected with hepatitis A share a household or are otherwise in contact with someone who works at a food service establishment,” explained Gary Edwards, SLCoHD executive director. “When we’ve learned this, we’ve immediately acted to vaccinate all food workers in that same establishment for the protection of the public. This amendment formalizes and codifies that health department response as it relates to food workers.”

The temporary amendment requires food service establishments to vaccinate all employees who handle food if any worker in the establishment is identified as a contact of someone confirmed to have hepatitis A. Establishments have 14 days to comply with the vaccine requirement; workers who do not comply within 14 days will be excluded from work assignments that involve handling food or food-contact surfaces.

Under the temporary amendment, food establishments are responsible for maintaining official record of their employees’ vaccination status. Each occurrence of an unvaccinated employee handling food or a food-contact surface will be recorded as a critical violation on the establishment’s inspection history, and repeated failure to comply may result in suspension or revocation of the affected food establishment’s permit to operate.

The temporary amendment also authorizes SLCoHD to reduce the cost of the first dose of the hepatitis A vaccine by up to 50 percent for anyone seeking vaccination at a health department immunization clinic who can document that they are a food-service employee in Salt Lake County.

Temporary amendments may be enacted by the Board of Health without the normal public hearing process in response to an imminent public health concern. Temporary amendments are limited to 120 days, during which the Board may, if they choose, engage in the full public notification and hearing process to permanently amend a regulation. The Board has not yet determined if it will be necessary to permanently amend Health Regulation #5.

As I said in a previous post, I have been advocating this fo a very, very long time.  For Goodness Sake, Vaccinate – Against Hepatitis A.

The Detroit Health Department recommends all food establishments get their employees vaccinated.

To support this effort, the Detroit Health Department is launching a mobile vaccination clinic program to provide easy and convenient access for Detroit food establishments to vaccinate their employees.

The Department will set up clinics throughout the City of Detroit, where clusters of restaurants are located.

Restaurants can call the Detroit Health Department at 313-876-0135 to arrange for vaccination.

Southeast Michigan has seen 692 hepatitis A cases, with 564 hospitalizations resulting in 22 deaths in the last year.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter — even in microscopic amounts — from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces, or stool, of an infected person.

I have been advocating this fo a very, very long time.  For Goodness Sake, Vaccinate – Against Hepatitis A.

The Detroit Health Department recommends all food establishments get their employees vaccinated.

To support this effort, the Detroit Health Department is launching a mobile vaccination clinic program to provide easy and convenient access for Detroit food establishments to vaccinate their employees.

The Department will set up clinics throughout the City of Detroit, where clusters of restaurants are located.

Restaurants can call the Detroit Health Department at 313-876-0135 to arrange for vaccination.

Southeast Michigan has seen 692 hepatitis A cases, with 564 hospitalizations resulting in 22 deaths in the last year.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter — even in microscopic amounts — from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces, or stool, of an infected person.

With a Hepatitis A outbreak boiling in southeast Michigan for the last year, one would think common sense would dictate vaccinating employees and protecting your customers?

Monroe County Health Department (MCHD) has confirmed a second case of Hepatitis A in an individual who works at a local restaurant. MCHD is providing information to alert residents and guests to the possible exposure and to recommend prompt Hepatitis A vaccination or Immune Globulin (IG) treatment to potentially exposed individuals.

The diagnosed individual works at Tim Hortons Restaurant located at 404 S. Monroe Street in Monroe. Anyone who consumed food and/or drink from the restaurant between December 10, 2017 and December 28, 2017 may have been exposed.

MCHD is working with the restaurant to vaccinate all employees, determine if there are any additional cases and to eliminate any additional risk of exposure. Concerned individuals are urged to contact MCHD or their health care provider with questions.

Anyone who has consumed food and/or drink at Tim Hortons from December 10th to December 28th, should monitor for symptoms of Hepatitis A which include fatigue, poor appetite, stomach pain or tenderness, nausea or vomiting, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin (jaundice). Most children less than 6 years of age do not experience symptoms. Symptoms typically appear 2 to 6 weeks after exposure. Individuals with symptoms should call their health care provider and seek medical care.

Earlier, The Department extended the free Hepatitis A walk-in clinic, through the week of December 18 through the 22 where at least 1,800 people were vaccinated after the first employee with hepatitis A was announced. The clinic was for anyone who consumed food and/or drink between November 21 and December 8 from the same Tim Horton’s location.

Hepatitis A vaccine or Immune Globulin (IG) treatment may provide protection against the disease if given within two weeks of exposure. Anyone potentially exposed to Hepatitis A should contact their healthcare provider to be assessed for vaccination or IG treatment. Hepatitis A vaccine is available from health care providers, pharmacies and at MCHD. People who have had Hepatitis A disease or have previously received two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine do not need to be vaccinated.

Hepatitis A is caused by the Hepatitis A virus, and it can cause damage to the liver and cause other health problems.

The most effective method to prevent Hepatitis A is to get vaccinated. The Hepatitis A vaccine is now routinely recommended for children at 1 year of age. Most adults, however, may not be vaccinated, unless they did so for travel or other risk factors.

The Hepatitis A virus is most commonly spread from person-to-person by the fecal-oral route. Most infections result from contact with an infected household member or sex partners. Sometimes, infection results from food or drink that is contaminated with the virus. It is not spread through coughing or sneezing. Anyone who has Hepatitis A can spread the virus to others for 1-2 weeks prior to symptoms appearing.

Frequent hand-washing with soap and warm water after using the restroom and before handling food can help prevent the spread of Hepatitis A. Thoroughly preparing foods can also help prevent infection. Freezing food does not kill the virus.

Outbreak in Southeast Michigan From August 2016 to December 20, 2017 there have been 630 cases of Hepatitis A diagnosed in Southeast Michigan. Monroe County has 14 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an Import Alert over hepatitis A found in raw, frozen tuna from Sustainable Seafood Co. Ltd. in Can Lam, Vietnam, and P.T. Deho Canning Company in North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

“FDA believes that hepatitis A virus-contaminated seafood is a result of insanitary conditions in the production or packing facilities, e.g., poor worker hygiene, inadequate worker sanitation facilities, and/or contaminated water supply,” FDA said in the alert.

The FDA found hepatitis A virus in frozen raw tuna samples from the two suppliers in May 2017, but is issuing the Import Alert now “to address seafood products being introduced for entry based on two recent outbreaks,” Jason Stratchman-Miller, a spokesperson for FDA, told SeafoodSource.

In May, Hilo Fish Company in Hawaii recalled tuna sourced from Sustainable Seafood Company and Santa Cruz Seafood, Inc. that tested positive for the hepatitis A virus. The tuna had been distributed to several U.S. grocery stores.

“The current recall resulted from follow-up after the Hawaii Department of Health notified the FDA of a frozen tuna sample, sourced from PT Deho Canning Co., which tested positive for hepatitis A on 1 May, 2017,” FDA said in a statement in May.

In the new Import Alert, FDA explained that hepatitis A virus is excreted in feces of infected people “and can produce clinical disease when susceptible individuals consume contaminated water or foods.” 

As a result of the alert, FDA “may detain, without physical examination, shipments of fresh or frozen raw seafood” from Sustainable Seafood Co. and P.T. Deho Canning Company, the regulator said.

“Hepatitis A virus is primarily transmitted by person-to-person contact through fecal contamination, but common-source epidemics from contaminated food and water also occur,” FDA said in the alert. “Poor sanitation and crowding facilitate transmission. Contamination of foods by infected workers in food production facilities/processing plants and restaurants is common.”

According to local press reports, Westchester County has treated 250 people who may have been exposed to hepatitis A at Sleepy Hollow Country Club, officials said today.

Those people received preventive treatment after a club employee was infected by one of the five people who were exposed to hepatitis A at bartaco in Port Chester, said Caren Halbfinger, a spokeswoman for the Westchester Department of Health.

The department is offering free treatment at its clinic at 134 Court St. in White Plains for anyone who ate or drank at the club between Oct. 30 and Nov. 4.

The Health Department will offer hepatitis A vaccine to most people. Infants under 1 year old and people with immune-compromising conditions will be given immune globulin.

The county clinic is providing treatment from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Tuesday, 9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday. Officials said treatment is most effective within two weeks of exposure.

Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow is offering treatment for anyone who attended its gala at the country club on Nov. 3. Treatment is available at the hospital at 755 N. Broadway from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday this week.

Anyone who ate or drank at the club between Oct. 21 and Oct. 29 may also have been exposed, but the treatment is only effective within two weeks of exposure, officials said. Anyone who is too late for treatment is still urged to contact their health care provider immediately, though, so that anyone they may have exposed can receive treatment.

Health officials said they did not expect this outbreak to affect as many as people as bartaco’s outbreak, which included treatment of more than 3,000 people who were potentially exposed to hepatitis A.

Homelessness in the greater Seattle/King County region seems to be rising as fast as High-Tech jobs and housing prices.  There are estimated to be 3,000 people in Seattle each night who are unsheltered and about 10,000 homeless people living on either the streets or in shelters. And, as the nights grow wetter and colder, the lives of our fellow citizens grow even more precarious.  Clearly, homelessness is a complex issue that combines various elements of poverty, substance abuse and mental health, however, now, enters yet another concern – public health – specifically, the growing risk of hepatitis A amongst the homeless, and the risk that it will spread.

It is what is happening in other regions and the risk that it could happen here is real.

In the Detroit, Michigan area there have been 486 cases of hepatitis A, including 19 fatalities, identified as related to an outbreak in Southeast Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In October, health officials said they were investigating cases at Firewater Bar and Grill and a Little Caesars Pizza location in Detroit and a restaurant worker in Ann Arbor. Cases were also linked to Whole Foods in Detroit and Social Kitchen in Birmingham and recently at Champs Rotisserie and Spirits in Wayne County.

In San Diego, California, the county Health and Human Services Agency published new weekly totals, which add one to the number of deaths recorded since the health crisis started in November 2016. The running tally of confirmed cases also continues to increase, reaching 536 from a previous total of 516 – including 20 deaths. On September 15th, the county notified the public that a worker at World Famous restaurant in Pacific Beach had tested positive.

And, thanks to the Huffington Post, you can see the problem in the whole country:

Hepatitis A is preventable with a vaccine and/or good sanitation and/or handwashing. Hepatitis A is a communicable — or contagious — disease that often spreads from person to person. Person-to-person transmission occurs via the “fecal-oral route,” while all other exposure is generally attributable to contaminated food or water.

Hepatitis A is relatively stable and can survive for several hours on fingertips and hands. It can live up to two months on dry surfaces. The virus can be inactivated by heating to 185 degrees F (85°C) or higher for one minute, or disinfecting surfaces with a 1:100 dilution of sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) in tap water. Freezing does not kill the virus.

The vaccine is recommended by public health officials for the following people:

  • Travelers to areas with increased rates of hepatitis A;
  • Men who have sex with men;
  • Injecting and non-injecting drug users;
  • Persons with clotting factor disorders;
  • Persons with chronic liver disease;
  • Persons with occupational risk of infection;
  • Children living in regions of the U.S. with increased rates of hepatitis A; and
  • Household members and other close personal contacts.

So, what can we do to prevent the tragedies that have hit California and Michigan hard and appear to be spreading to other areas of the country?

  • Encourage and offer hepatitis A vaccines to the homeless and other at-risk members of the public;
  • Provide sanitary bathroom and handwashing facilities to the homeless; and
  • Provide assistance to our neighbors to deal with the underlying issues of poverty, substance abuse and mental health.

As I said before – “For Goodness Sake – Vaccinate”

Management of Champs Rotisserie and Spirits at 20515 Mack Ave. alerted the Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness to the issue.

Hepatitis A is spread through contaminated food or water, or close personal contact with an infected person.

The ill employee is not working and is receiving medical care, the health department said in a news release.

Health officials say those who ate food from the restaurant on or after Oct. 20 should get a vaccine by Nov. 13 if they have not already been vaccinated. People who consumed food from the restaurant Oct. 10-30 should watch for symptoms of hepatitis A, which can include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, clay colored stool, fever, chills and jaundice. Symptoms occur 15-50 days after exposure and can last for several weeks to months.

Since Aug. 1, 2016, there have been 486 cases of hepatitis A, including 19 fatalities,  identified as related to an outbreak in Southeast Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

In October, health officials said they were investigating cases at Firewater Bar and Grill and a Little Caesars Pizza location in Detroit and a restaurant worker in Ann Arbor. Cases last year were linked to Whole Foods in Detroit and Social Kitchen in Birmingham, and a pizza restaurant in Alabama.

In San Diego California, the county Health and Human Services Agency published new weekly totals, which add one to the number of deaths recorded since the health crisis started in November 2016. The running tally of confirmed cases also continues to increase, reaching 536 from a previous total of 516 – including 20 deaths. On September 15th the county notified the public that a worker at World Famous restaurant in Pacific Beach had tested positive.

And, thanks to the Huffington Post, you can see the problem in the whole country:

University Christian Church in Hillcrest along with the San Diego County Health Department hosted a breakfast and offered free vaccines Sunday to the homeless and parishioners. Dozens of people took part.

University Christian Church is in the heart of Hillcrest which is considered a major problem area for the epidemic.

“We knew we had to do something. There are so many people affected by this. We also hoped it would build community between our folks and the homeless folks,” said pastor Caleb Lines.

Health officials say immunizing at-risk populations is the best way to stop the spread of the disease, which attacks the liver. The outbreak has killed 18 people and sickened nearly 500 since last November, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.

The San Diego outbreak was detected in March, and traced back to an origin in November, according to county health officials. A similar strain of the disease has been found in Los Angeles, Orange and Santa Cruz counties.