Public health folks in Detroit offering free hep A shots for uninsured food handlers

One cost that’s been debated in food service for over twenty years is whether or not employers or public health folks should require food handlers to be vaccinated for hepatitis A. Jacobs and colleagues arrived at the conclusion that the public health benefit of vaccinating for hep A doesn’t equal the costs – but doesn’t factor in all the bad publicity, hassle and incident management costs.

How about free vaccines for uninsured food handlers. Sounds good to me. That’s what’s happening in Detroit after 692 hep A cases in southeast Michigan have occurred recently, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Food workers are being encouraged to get a Hepatitis A vaccine shot on Monday by the Detroit Health Department in the wake of an outbreak hitting southeast Michigan.
The vaccination clinic is scheduled for Monday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Samaritan Center, Kilpatrick Conference Room, 5555 Conner.

The Detroit Health Department is recommending that all food establishments in the city make arrangements for workers to get vaccinated. Food workers include those who work at restaurants, bars, fast food establishments and delis.
Food workers are encouraged to bring a photo identification and health insurance card if they have insurance. Uninsured food workers may be eligible for a free vaccine.
The department has extended its hours to 8 p.m. to accommodate workers with busy schedules.

Vaccines work: New York country club patrons exposed to hepatitis A linked to fancy place

Christopher Eberhart of Lohud writes that patrons at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club may have been exposed to hepatitis A as an outbreak linked to bartaco in Port Chester continues to spread.  

A Sleepy Hollow Country Club employee was infected by one of the five people who were exposed to hepatitis A at bartaco, Westchester Health Department officials said today.  

Health officials don’t believe this outbreak will involve as many people as bartaco, which included treatments of more than 3,000 people, who were potentially exposed to Hepatitis A. 

“We’re not expecting to be treating thousands this time,” Amler said at a Friday afternoon press conference. 

While the greatest risk is to those who ate or drank at Sleepy Hollow’s Grill Room, in an abundance of caution the Health Department recommends preventive treatment for anyone who ate or drank at the club between Oct. 27 and Nov. 4.

The county is offering free preventative treatment today from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the county clinic at 134 Court St. in White Plains. Dr. Sherlita Amler, commissioner of health, said more clinics are expected to be scheduled for next week, but the details haven’t been sorted out yet. 

Vaccines work: Fancy food ain’t safe food, Australia hep A edition

Get vaccinated.

The NSW Food Authority has issued an alert for diners of a top Sydney restaurant after a food handler employed there contracted Hepatitis A.

Any diners who ate at Sokyo restaurant in the Star Casino complex during September and October are being advised to contact their GP if they have any concerns.

The food handler, who works in the ‘hot food area’ in the restaurant’s kitchen, contracted the virus whilst travelling overseas. After being admitted to hospital with symptoms, hospital staff contacted the NSW Food Authority to advise of the issue after learning where the food handler worked.

NSW Food Authority performed a review the next day and concluded that processes and hygiene at the Sokyo restaurant are robust and that there there was a low risk of anyone being infected with no ongoing risk to other diners.

This Hepatitis A warning is unrelated to the current Hepatitis A outbreak occurring throughout Sydney.

Food Safety Talk 135: This is a podcast

Don and Ben are on the road, talking to some of the best folks in the food safety world at the NEHA Region 4 conference/FDA Central Region retail food protection seminar in Minneapolis. This recording was an experiment, the first Food Safety Talk recorded in front of a live, non-studio audience. Topics included raw milk, hepatitis A, listener feedback on liquid nitrogen, our favorite Bond movies and least favorite pathogens.

Episode 135 can be found here and on iTunes.

 

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

2 Detroit restaurants close during Hepatitis A probe

Two Grosse Pointe restaurants have voluntarily shut while the Wayne County Health Department investigates multiple cases of Hepatitis A suspected of being related to the establishments, WWJ reports.

The restaurants, Uncle Paul’s Pizza, 21215 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Woods and the Cabbage Patch Café & Catering, 15110 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe Park, are cooperating.

Anyone who ate there between Aug. 1 and Sept. 29 should watch for abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, clay colored stool, fever and chills, along with yellow skin and eyes (jaundice). Symptoms occur 15 to 50 days after exposure and can last several weeks or even months.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease.

Hepatitis A transmission: Door knob edition

There’s a lot of hepatitis A going around in Southern California. With an outbreak going through the homeless population in a couple of counties and potential exposure of fruit cart patrons, there’s lots of paranoia.

The San Diego Tribune asks, can you get hep A from a door knob (this outbreak’s version of a toilet seat can give you HIV). My friend, colleague, and virologist extraordinaire, Lee-Ann Jaykus answers the call:

Lee-Ann Jaykus, a microbiologist at North Carolina State University who specializes in hepatitis and other types of food-borne illness, said that, while it is definitely possible for this bug to linger on a surface — maybe for weeks — it’s not likely.

She noted that only one activity is known to spread a hepatitis A infection: Accidentally ingesting a tiny amount of an infected person’s feces.

Even though this microbe is tough enough to live on surfaces for extended periods, it would take quite a large amount of material, she said, to actually have a transfer occur.
“It’s not impossible, but the chances are very slim. You would need people walking around with a lot of poop on their hands all of the time to be causing a problem in the general population,” Jaykus said.

Research shows that the chance of transference decreases with each thing that person touches after their hands are contaminated, she said. And dry surfaces tend to be less prone to collecting and holding substances than wet surfaces.

So, an infected food service worker who does not adequately wash his or her hands after going to the bathroom is more likely to transfer the illness to a moist, cold piece of lettuce while building your burger than a homeless person is to leave behind a significant contamination on the door handle of a downtown restaurant.

In all cases, Jaykus added, the bit of bad stuff would have to make it into your mouth. So, in the context of public transportation, just don’t lick anything at your local bus stop and wash your hands before putting them near your mouth. You should be just fine.

Restaurant employee positive for Hepatitis A

A worker at Cliffside Bistro tested positive for Hepatitis A in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.

City News reports
Toronto Public Health said Monday that anyone who recently ate at a Scarborough restaurant may have been exposed to hepatitis A.
Health officials said an employee at Cliffside Bistro at 22-77 Kingston Rd. near Midland Avenue has tested positive for the illness.
Anyone who ate at the restaurant on July 21, between July 25-29 and between Aug. 2-4 may have been exposed.

The problem with Hep A is the long incubation period and symptoms may not appear until 14-28 days after exposure.

While the risk of infections is low, Toronto Public Health says they will be holding several free hepatitis A vaccination clinics at the Scarborough Civic Centre.
The clinics are open on Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hepatitis A can be spread by improper hand washing after using the washroom and the coming into contact with food. Common symptoms include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea/vomiting, stomach pains and jaundice (yellowing of the skin).

 

Drug-related outbreak now affecting food events: Hepatitis A outbreak causes fifth death in San Diego

FOX 5 reports a hepatitis A outbreak in the San Diego area has claimed the life of a fifth person, county health officials reported Wednesday.

Vaccinations to help prevent Hepatitis A and B, where given by HEP Team to those interested, free of cost. Second day of the 26th Annual Sunset Junction Street Fair with food, games rides and health information for the hundred attending on Sunday. (Photo by Carlos Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The outbreak now totals 228 cases and required the hospitalization of 161 of those sickened, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency. So far, the disease has mostly affected the homeless population and/or users of illegal drugs, with seven out of every 10 cases affecting those populations. One of every five people sickened with hepatitis A also has hepatitis C.

But according to a couple of barfblog.com types, the outbreak has led to the cancellation of food events in September.

Public health investigators have not identified any common food, drink or drug source as a contributing cause to this outbreak, officials said. Hepatitis A is most commonly spread via contaminated food or water, sexual contact or sharing drug paraphernalia.

“It is imperative that anyone at risk for hepatitis A get vaccinated,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “We cannot stress this enough — get vaccinated and make sure you wash your hands after going to the bathroom.”

“Lives are at risk,” Wooten said. “Protect yourself, your family and the community.”

County health officials have been working with homeless services providers, community health clinics, faith-based organizations, substance abuse treatment providers, hospital emergency departments, jails and probation facilities to conduct vaccination clinics for people who are at risk of catching the illness. It can take up to nearly two months after exposure to develop symptoms, but the disease can be prevented if people get immunized within two weeks of exposure, the HHSA said.

Get vaccinated now: Marriage shouldn’t involve hep A

When Amy and I agreed to marry, having both been divorced and having already bought a house together, we went and bought cheapo wedding rings, and I asked her by the car, in 2006, across from the jewelers in Manhattan, Kansas, and said, I’m too old to be engaged, let’s just get married.

Done.

Now, it’s 2017, and once again, newlyweds who want it all are grappling with Hepatitis A.

It’s like getting married and then saying one of you has chlamydia.

Ariana Lubelli of FiOS 1 reports June 10, 2017 was the day Jay and Jennifer Gorinson had been dreaming of: a wedding that seemed as perfect as can be. But in the days following, the newlyweds faced a nightmare.

“We were notified on the first day of our honeymoon of a potential infection of hepatitis A,” said Jay Gorinson, the groom.

The couple’s nearly 200 guests are at risk for Hepatitis A. The Health Department confirmed that a bartender at their wedding venue, Monteverde at Oldstone in Cortlandt Manor, was infected.

“It’s embarrassing. The first notification that I had to put out about our marriage was warning our guests, family members and loved ones about a potential virus infection,” continued Gorinson.

“All attendees essentially that may have been inside the mansion, including my 1 and 3-year-old nephew and niece, who just got vaccinated today as well and incurred about $700 worth of charges that I contacted Monteverde about today and they said it was an unfortunate circumstance and they had no further comment after that.”

Get vaccinated now.

More Hep A means more human shit where fish swim

REO Speedwagon was a terrible band.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are assisting state and local officials in assessing the risk of hepatitis A virus exposure from contaminated frozen tuna sourced from Sustainable Seafood Company, Vietnam, and Santa Cruz Seafood Inc., Philippines. If unvaccinated consumers have consumed the recalled product within the last two weeks, post-exposure prophylaxis may help prevent hepatitis A virus infection.

Prior to FDA’s announcement, Hilo Fish Company alerted its customers and distribution partners directly to let them know about the company’s voluntary recall of certain tuna products on May 18. The FDA received records from the company or its distribution partners indicating that they sold frozen tuna to the establishments listed on the FDA’s website. The FDA is working with Hilo and other distributors to ensure that the companies remove product from the market. The table containing the names of establishments have been updated.

It is the responsibility of the Hilo Fish Company to notify its customers about the voluntary recall. It is also the responsibility of any company that received a recall notice from Hilo Fish Company to notify its customers. The establishments identified on the FDA’s website should have received a notice from Hilo Fish Company or their direct supplier. If they have not, they should reach out to their suppliers for more information. Any company that has questions about the voluntary recall or has affected product and did not receive notice should contact the FDA at 1-800-SAFEFOOD.