Tommy Tobin of Forbes reports Franklin County, Missouri, joins a handful of jurisdictions across the country with mandatory Hepatitis A vaccine programs aimed at preventing further cases. This development is part of a larger trend aimed at expanding vaccinations for Hepatitis A and addressing future outbreaks of the disease.
The CDC is investigating outbreaks of Hepatitis A across 29 states. According to the CDC, 233 individuals have died from Hepatitis A between 2016 and 2019 out of over 24,000 reported cases. Several states, including Kentucky, Florida, Ohio, and West Virginia, have seen thousands of cases.
In an effort to curb the increase in reported cases of Hepatitis A, many local jurisdictions are considering mandatory Hepatitis A vaccines for food service workers. For example, Missouri has reported 387 cases of Hepatitis A in the past two years. Over 50 of these cases are from Franklin County, which has a population of about 100,000 residents. Franklin County officials have imposed mandatory vaccinations for individuals who handle food. Food establishments, including restaurants, have 90 days to ensure their employees are vaccinated. Nearby St. Louis County, Missouri enacted a mandatory vaccine requirement nearly 20 years ago. Similar ordinances requiring vaccines for food service workers were enacted in Kentucky’s Ashland and Boyd Counties last year.
With the numerous cases across the country of Hepatitis A, the National Restaurant Association recently issued guidance to its member restaurants in an effort to reduce future cases. In this guidance, the Association recommended that restaurant managers and operators encourage employees to get vaccinated, educate restaurant staff about the virus, and monitor for any signs of the disease. (Note: The National Restaurant Association did not respond to requests for comment on this story). Separately, a CDC advisory panel recently recommended expanding the use of the Hepatitis A vaccine to all youth aged 2 to 18.
The study examines the influence, and potential confluence, of message framing and issue involvement on consumer food safety perceptions. We assess the impact of gain and loss-framed messages and issue involvement on perceptions of two food safety enhancing technologies, cattle vaccines against E. coli and direct-fed microbials.
A survey with six information treatments was developed. Empirical results show that both loss-framed and gain-framed messages were persuasive in influencing safety perceptions of the two technologies under low issue involvement. Under high issue involvement, however, only the loss-framed message influenced consumers’ safety perceptions. High issue involvement also heightened concerns about foodborne infections.
Shaping food safety perceptions: The Influence of informational nudges
When will post-truth thinking extend to buildings and bridges, which will remain intact because of faith rather than physics?
Australia gets a few totalitarian things right, such as mandatory voting and mandatory vaccination if parents want their kids to attend school.
Stephanie Innes of Arizona Central writes the state of Arizona has canceled a vaccine education program after receiving complaints from parents who don’t immunize their school-age children.
The pilot online course, modeled after programs in Oregon and Michigan, was created in response to the rising number of Arizona schoolchildren skipping school-required immunizations against diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough because of their parents’ beliefs.
But some parents, who were worried the optional course was going to become mandatory, complained to the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council, which reviews regulations to ensure they are necessary and do not adversely affect the public. The six-member council is appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey, with an ex-officio general counsel.
Members of the council questioned the state health department about the course after receiving the public feedback about it, emails show. The state responded by canceling it.
The complaints that ended the pilot program came from about 120 individuals and families, including 20 parents who said that they don’t vaccinate their children, records show.
“We’re so sorry we couldn’t make a go of this — strong forces against us,” Brenda Jones, immunization services manager at the Arizona Department of Health Services, wrote in an Aug. 6 email to a Glendale school official, along with a notification about the course’s cancellation.
In an email to two Health Department staff members on Aug. 14, Jones wrote that there had been “a lot of political and anti-vaxx” feedback.
“I’m not sure why providing ‘information’ is seen as a negative thing,” said state Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, who spent the last three legislative sessions as chairwoman of the House Health Committee and helped create the pilot program.
“Providing information doesn’t take away a parent’s choice to seek an exemption. … This is a major concern. Vaccines have saved lives for generations. We all want to live in safe and healthy communities.”
Kindergartners in Maricopa County as a whole are now below herd immunity for measles, said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.
Maricopa County reflects national trends that show people who choose not to vaccinate their children tend to be higher income and white, sh
The American Academy of Pediatrics views non-medical vaccine exemptions to school-required immunizations “as inappropriate for individual, public health, and ethical reasons and advocates for their elimination,” a September 2016 policy statement says.
A California law that took effect in 2016 — a little more than a year after a measles outbreak erupted at Disneyland and spread to include seven Arizona cases — prohibits personal belief exemptions. Children in California may still get exemptions for medical reasons, as long as their exemption is signed by a licensed physician. Otherwise, they aren’t allowed to enroll in school.
Hepatitis A virus is an important cause of food-borne diseases and has been associated with several European outbreaks linked to berries [1–4]. Here, we describe an ongoing outbreak of hepatitis A virus (HAV) in Sweden and Austria and the confirmation of frozen strawberries imported from Poland as the source of infection. The aims are to highlight the importance of sequencing in outbreak investigations and, due to the long shelf-life of the food vehicle, to increase awareness and warnings towards HAV infections related to frozen strawberries in Europe.
According to a report by the scientific journal Eurosurveillance, 20 cases of hepatitis A were reported in six districts of Sweden between June and September 2018, of which 17 were confirmed and three were likely. “In combined epidemiological and microbiological studies, imported frozen strawberries produced in Poland were identified as the source of the outbreak,” the journal said. Also in Austria hepatitis A diseases have been associated with strawberries from the same manufacturer. Swedish and Austrian researchers have identified strawberries as a source of infection for many hepatitis A diseases in their countries. “Examinations and interviews with kitchen staff showed that the strawberries had never been sufficiently heated before serving. Strawberries were the only food that was common to all cases, “says the Swedish experts.
The best protection against hepatitis A is vaccination, which is available for children 12 months and older.
Hepatitis A outbreak linked to imported frozen strawberries by sequencing, Sweden and Austria, June to September 2018
On 2 May 2018, Denmark reported a cluster of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections with the subgenotype IA strain DK2018_231, through the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)’s Epidemic Intelligence Information System (EPIS) for food- and waterborne diseases and zoonoses (FWD).
One of the three confirmed cases had travelled to Morocco. In response, five additional European Union (EU) countries (France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom (UK)) reported cases (n = 20) infected with the same strain between 21 January and 10 April 2018.
Concurrently, Germany reported to EPIS that it observed more cases of hepatitis A with travel history to Morocco than expected, compared with the same period in the previous 5 years. Molecular analysis of the HAV VP1/P2A region revealed an unrelated cluster of the HAV subgenotype IB strain V18–16428. Cases infected with this unrelated strain were also reported from France, the Netherlands, Sweden and UK.
The appearance of clusters with a link to Morocco triggered further epidemiological investigations.
Two concurrent outbreaks of hepatitis A highlight the risk of infection for non-immune travelers to Morocco, January to June 2018
Martyna Gassowski, Kai Michaelis, Mirko Faber, Julie Figoni…
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.
“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.
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.”
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.
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.