It seems that a month hardly passes without a warning from a health department somewhere that an infected food handler is the source of a potential hepatitis A outbreak, which further proves that the restaurant industry should act now and require vaccination of its employees.
Now the Regional Health Department has confirmed that a foodservice worker who worked at the Waffle House restaurant located at off Highway 61 in Clinton tested positive for hepatitis A. People who ate at the restaurant between April 1 and April 15, during the time when the worker was infectious, are now at risk for developing hepatitis A infection. The infected Waffle House worker is suspected to be the victim of a larger outbreak of hepatitis A that is believed to have caused at least 17 acute hepatitis A infections. Health officials have traced the outbreak to a restaurant in LaFollette.
The Regional Health Department organized a clinic to inoculate patrons of the restaurant who ate there between April 5 and April 15. The average incubation period for hepatitis A infection is thirty days, but can be as long as fifty days. A person who is infected with hepatitis A is infectious for the two weeks pervious to symptom onset and for two weeks thereafter. Immune globulin shots prevent hepatitis A infection, but only if administered during the two weeks following exposure to the virus.