The Alabama Department of Health yesterday alerted customers of McDonald’s, located at 2000 McFarland Blvd, Northport that they may have been exposed to hepatitis A virus through an infected employee. If you visited this McDonald’s any time on March 14, 2012, or during breakfast hours on March 16, 2012, please contact your health care provider as soon as possible to receive an Ig shot or Hepatitis A vaccine.

HepAmcdonalds.jpgI have heard this story before.

In March of 1998, the Skagit County Health Department (SCHD) received a number of reports that residents had been diagnosed with hepatitis A and began an investigation into what appeared to be a hepatitis A outbreak.  During its investigation into the outbreak’s source, SCHD determined that the outbreak had occurred among patrons of the McDonald’s restaurant located on Riverside Drive in Mt. Vernon, Washington, who had eaten at the restaurant in mid-February, 1998.  Through its investigation, SCHD learned that an assistant manager at the McDonald’s had worked while infected with hepatitis A and had contaminated food. 

In July and August of 2009, public health officials in the Quad-City region of Illinois identified at least 32 confirmed cases of hepatitis A among residents of Rock Island, Henry, Mercer, Warren, and Woodford Counties. People became ill after eating food purchased from the Milan McDonald’s restaurant and then developing a hepatitis A (HAV) infection, or after coming into contact with infected individuals and contracting a secondary infection.  The Rock Island County Public Health Department (RICPHD) identified at least eleven individuals who were hospitalized as a result of the severity of their hepatitis A symptoms.

Perhaps if McDonald’s provided vaccines to its employees, this would not be an issue?