ABCs of hepatitis: What’s the difference between A, B, and C?
The Florida Department of Health is reporting that yet another case of Hepatitis A has been discovered in a former restaurant employee in St. Petersburg.
On June 28, staff at Cafe Gala inside the Dali Museum were notified that a former dishwasher had contracted the disease. But because the employee was not directly responsible for food preparation, officials classified the case as a low threat to others and did not issue a public health notice.
However, staff at the restaurant and museum were provided information about Hepatitis A and vaccines were recommended. The DOH reports that all staff members subsequently were vaccinated and the restaurant implemented a new policy that requires all future new employees also be vaccinated.
Hepatitis A cases are skyrocketing in Florida and Pinellas and Pasco counties are recording the most cases in the state. Pasco County has recorded 347 cases while Pinellas County has confirmed 303 cases.
Cases have been climbing since 2014 when there were 106 cases reported. They have spiked since January 2018 through July of this year with 2,359 confirmed cases.
Just a few months ago, there were 10 reported cases in Manatee County and that number has spiked to 65 cases, according to the DOH.
Hepatitis is preventable with a vaccine and anyone interested in protection can call the DOH in Manatee County at 941-748-0747.
A person infected with Hepatitis A can go weeks without symptoms and are still contagious. Symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite.
- Abdominal pain.
- Dark urine.
- Joint pain.
- Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes).
The virus can infect the liver and lead to serious liver issues. It spreads through feces of people who have the virus and can be spread by those who fail to wash their hands properly.
Proper hand washing and vaccines can stop the spread.