Vaccines work: Will low-cost shots for restaurant workers tame the hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky?

Darla Carter of Insider Louisville reports the city is taking aim at the hepatitis A outbreak by offering low-cost vaccination shots to food-service and hospitality industry workers such as restaurant employees.

The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and the University of Louisville Global Health Center have teamed up to provide the service at a discounted price of $25 per shot, with the restaurant or business paying the fee.

“It’s a significant discount,” said health department spokesman Dave Langdon, noting that the typical rate is more like $65 to $100 a dose.

Against the Grain, a Louisville brewery and restaurant, is among the businesses that have stepped up to get some workers vaccinated.

“We care for our employees and want them to be well and we care for our customers and want them to be well,” co-owner Adam Watson said. ” … Any place that handles food, it’s probably a wise decision to try and get this done.”

The discounted shots are part of an effort to stop an outbreak that has led to nearly 200 cases of acute hepatitis A in the Louisville area, according to the health department. At least one person has died.

Locally, the highly contagious liver infection mainly has stricken the homeless and people who use drugs. It’s usually spread when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated with small amounts of stool from an infected person, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The health department and its partners have given shots to thousands of people at high risk, such as the homeless, and is urging restaurants and other food handlers to practice good sanitation and hygiene as the Kentucky Derby approaches in May.

Also, by taking advantage of the discounted shots, businesses “certainly would be helping to prevent the spread of hepatitis A throughout the community,” Langdon said. “Also, they would be protecting themselves against the potential bad publicity and loss of business that might come with having one of their workers identified with being infected with hepatitis A.”

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.

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.

Vaccines work: 18 sick with hep A linked to award-winning bakery in Scotland

Malcolm Gladwell — a poor imitator of Lyle Lovett hair — cites research in his 2008 book, Outliers, that says the difference between good and great is about 10,000 hours of practice.

That’s what it takes to adjust the brain wiring: from pianist to poet, Beatle to Stone, haberdasher to hockey player, from good to great.

I’m not going to take up the academic and practical concerns with this simplification that gets used as mantra.

Biology is always messier.

Hockey camp at the beach over the weekend with 36 kids was great for the exercise, the repetition, and the bonding that lasts a lifetime.

So I’m always baffled when some restaurant owner who has devoted his lifetime – their 10,000 hours, to their craft — can lose it all in a microbiological minute.

Again, biology is messy.

Rachel Macpherson of The Sun reports that JB Christie has closed its Airdrie bakery in North Lanarkshire and ordered the immediate withdrawal of products after being linked to multiple cases of the potentially deadly virus.

NHS Lanarkshire announced nine patients had been treated with a further nine suspected cases of the bug.

Initial probes by health chiefs said the infection was possibly linked to the bakery, but a probe, including staff blood tests, failed to turn up any sign of the virus.

Jody Harrison of The Herald reports Andrew Chisholm, owner of JB Christie Baker’s, now intends to re-open both shops, saying that he viewed it as his “civic duty” to shut as soon as the link was made.

He said: “As a business, we have fully and voluntarily co-operated with Lanarkshire NHS and Environmental Health Officers during this process.

“As of this morning all staff at the bakery have been blood tested and have been found to be clear of the infection. Also as a precaution all have been vaccinated for Hepatitis A.

The baker said: “I have made my career in this industry and I bought the JB Christie business just over four years ago and I am proud to have done so.

Good on Chisholm for taking so-called swift action (but ‘major electrical issue,’ sorta douchebagish). Epidemiology works, so tests afterwards don’t mean much.

Neither do vaccinations.

If an owner devoted 10,000 hours to his craft to be award winning, vaccinating all employees against Hepatitis A should have been done before, not after a health risk emerged – real or not.

Texas uni develops oral vaccine against Salmonella

Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have developed a vaccine against salmonella poisoning designed to be taken by mouth. The findings are detailed in an article published in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology.

salm-vaccine-oralIn earlier studies, the UTMB researchers developed potential vaccines from three genetically mutated versions of the salmonella bacteria, that is Salmonella Typhimurium, that were shown to protect mice against a lethal dose of salmonella. In these studies, the vaccines were given as an injection.

However, oral vaccination is simplest and least invasive way to protect people against salmonella infection. Taking this vaccine by mouth also has the added advantage of using the same pathway that salmonella uses to wreak havoc on the digestive system.

“In the current study, we analyzed the immune responses of mice that received the vaccination by mouth as well as how they responded to a lethal dose of salmonella, said Ashok Chopra, UTMB professor of microbiology and immunology. “We found that the orally administered vaccines produced strong immunity against salmonella, showing their potential for future use in people.”

There is no vaccine currently available for salmonella poisoning. Antibiotics are the first choice in treating salmonella infections, but the fact that some strains of salmonella are quickly developing antibiotic resistance is a serious concern. Another dangerous aspect of salmonella is that it can be used as a bioweapon — this happened in Oregon when a religious cult intentionally contaminated restaurant salad bars and sickened 1,000 people.

Salmonella is responsible for one of the most common food-borne illnesses in the world. In the US alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are about 1.4 million cases with 15,000 hospitalizations and 400 deaths each year. It is thought that for every reported case, there are approximately 39 undiagnosed infections. Overall, the number of salmonella cases in the US has not changed since 1996.

Salmonella infection in people with compromised immune systems and children under the age of three are at increased risk of invasive non-typhoidal salmonellosis, which causes systemic infection. There are about one million cases globally per year, with a 25 percent fatality rate.

Other authors include UTMB’s Tatiana Erova, Michelle Kirtley, Eric Fitts, Duraisamy Ponnusamy, Jourdan Andersson, Yingzi Cong, Bethany Tiner and Jian Sha as well as Wallace Baze from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The study was supported by UTMB and The National Institutes of Health.