Sudbury, Ontario Casey’s patrons potentially exposed to hep A

Growing up in the bustling metropolis of Port Hope, Ontario (that’s in Canada) with it’s population of 10,000 hosers, restaurant choices were limited. We often made the 10km drive to Cobourg, where Casey’s was the place to be. I can trace 30lbs of my body mass to their chicken wings, ribs and potato skins.

A Sudbury, Ontario (that’s also in Canada) Casey’s restaurant is, according to the Sudbury Star, dealing with a hepatitis A situation, with over 1000 patrons lining up for post exposure shots.default

Sudburians and others who dined at a popular restaurant last month clearly took a warning to heart that was issued last week by the Sudbury & District Health Unit. Anyone who ate at Casey’s Bar & Grill from Jan. 1 to 20, especially from Jan. 15-20, was urged to get assessed and have a hepatitis A vaccination after a restaurant employee was confirmed as having the illness.

By Monday morning, nurses at the health unit had administered 1,056 hepatitis A shots in three days of free clinics and they weren’t finished. They were working extended hours Monday, but were to return to their normal 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. routine Tuesday. Holly Browne said the vaccination, which usually costs $60 for adults and $40 for children, is most effective two weeks after exposure although the incubation period for hepatitis A is 50 days.

The health unit fielded more than 1,000 phone calls in three days, screening those who ate at Casey’s from Jan. 1-14 and offering vaccinations to those who dined there from Jan. 15-20. The health unit was notified that the employee had contracted hepatitis A by a laboratory that did blood testing on the person. Hepatitis A is a reportable disease.

Casey’s issued a statement after the health unit reported the case of hepatitis A infection Thursday. It said the affected employee will be on sick leave until fully recovered. Casey’s voluntarily closed its restaurant Thursday and reopened Friday after undergoing a thorough, third-party sanitization of kitchen equipment and the entire restaurant. Its employees attended a vaccination clinic Thursday.


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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.