12/21/11 — Hepatitis A warning issued

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Hepatitis A warning issued

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 21, 2011 1:46 PM

The Wayne County Health Department is advising anyone who ate at a yogurt stand on Spence Avenue earlier this month to seek treatment for possible exposure to Hepatitis A.

Patrons who visited Fruity Yogurt at 317 Spence Ave. on Dec. 7 and have not been vaccinated against Hepatitis A are urged to come to a clinic at the Health Department today from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. for a free protective shot. Health officials said the clinic will be open the same hours Thursday.

The situation is believed to have been isolated, said Evelyn Coley, acting health director.

"A food handler was sick," she said. "Nobody else reported illnesses."

According to a press release issued by the Health Department, the exposure "might have occurred on December 7, 2011 because of an infection in an employee who was diagnosed on December 14, 2011. Those potentially exposed could experience symptoms as early as December 21, 2011, and as late as January 25, 2012."

Ms. Coley said the Health Department learned of the situation through the state's electronic database, notifying them of lab work on the employee of Fruity Yogurt.

"The food handler does not work there any more," she pointed out.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus, health officials said. Those who have had the infection or vaccine are protected from the virus and do not need to take additional actions.

The vaccine is very effective in reducing the risk of disease when administered within 14 days of the last date of exposure, Ms. Coley said.

The release went on to say that symptoms typically appear within two to seven weeks after exposure and can include fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal discomfort. Jaundice is also possible and symptoms may go virtually unnoticed. There is no specific treatment once a person has Hepatitis A and most people recover without complications after several weeks.

Hepatitis A is usually spread by eating or drinking items that have been contaminated or came in close contact with an infected person. Careful hand washing is key to preventing the spread of the disease.