Local

Hepatitis A confirmed in Anna Maria Island restaurant worker. Free vaccines to be offered

ABCs of hepatitis: What’s the difference between A, B, and C?

Hepatitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver. It comes in many forms, including hepatitis A, B and C. But what do those letter designations mean, and how do they differ from one another?
Up Next
Hepatitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver. It comes in many forms, including hepatitis A, B and C. But what do those letter designations mean, and how do they differ from one another?

Hepatitis A has been confirmed in an Anna Maria Island restaurant food service worker and the health department recommends vaccination for some past customers.

Lab tests on July 1 confirmed a case of Hepatitis A in a food service worker, according to the Manatee County Health Department. Epidemiologist investigators determined the person worked at the Ugly Grouper, 5704 Marina Dr. in Holmes Beach.

“We have been notified by the Manatee County Health Department that (an) employee has been infected with Hepatitis A and has been treated and is in recovery,” a post on the The Ugly Grouper’s Facebook page said.

“Moving forward there are no continued concerns at the Ugly Grouper. While it is relatively rare for a food handler to expose Hepatitis A to the community, all areas of the restaurant have been cleaned and sanitized. Although no other symptoms were present at the restaurant, all employees will be vaccinated as a extra precautionary measure.”

“Fewer than 5% of cases are food workers, and to date, the Florida Department of Health has not identified a single case of Hepatitis A transmission from a food worker to a restaurant patron,” a news release from the Manatee County Health Department said.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A infection include the sudden onset of abdominal discomfort, dark urine, fever diarrhea, pale white stools and yellow skin and eyes (jaundice). Those experiencing symptoms should quickly seek medical attention. No medicines can cure Hepatitis A once symptoms appear, according to the health department.

The health department recommends those who frequented the Ugly Grouper restaurant before June 22 should consider being vaccinated if they have not previously done so.

Others who should be vaccinated include: all children at age 1 year, people experiencing homelessness, drug users, men who have sexual contact with men, people in direct contact with others with Hepatitis A, those traveling to places where Hepatitis A is common, people with clotting-factor disorders, family and caregivers of adoptees from places where Hepatitis A is common and people with chronic or long-term liver disease.

The vaccination can be received at the county health department or a person’s primary care physician’s office. It consists of two doses, one immediately and another in six months.

If the vaccine is given within two weeks of exposure to Hepatitis A, it could provide protection against the disease, according to the health department.

Vaccinations are the best way to prevent infection, according to the health department. Those who have previously received a Hepatitis A vaccine do not need to take action.

The vaccine will be offered at the Manatee County Health Department main office, 410 Sixth Ave. E. in Bradenton between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. This excludes July 4, when offices are closed in observance of Independence Day.

There are also two opportunities to get the vaccine for free:

  • Friday, July 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Anna Maria Elementary School, 4700 Gulf Dr., Holmes Beach;

  • Saturday, July 6, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Manatee County Health Department, 410 Sixth Ave. E., Bradenton.

Those with questions about Hepatitis A can call 941-708-5951, a hotline that will be active beginning at 8 a.m. Friday.

There have been multiple reports of Hepatitis A in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

Related stories from Bradenton Herald

Sara Nealeigh covers what’s happening in the cities of Bradenton and Palmetto, Florida for the Bradenton Herald. She previously covered breaking news for the Herald after moving to Florida from Ohio in 2016.
  Comments