Second food service worker diagnosed with Hepatitis A, this time in Sarasota County

Hep A case confirmed at Piccolo Italian Market & Deli

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - For the second time in two days, a food service worker has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A, this time in Sarasota county.

The Sarasota County Health Department says a lab test taken on July 3 confirmed an employee had Hepatitis A while working at Piccolo Italian Market & Deli on Gateway Avenue.

If you went to the restaurant between June 21-29 and were not vaccinated for Hepatitis A, the health department says you should consider being vaccinated either at your local county health department or your doctor’s office.

Health officials say the vaccine may provide protection against the disease if given within two weeks after exposure. Anyone who went to the restaurant should monitor for symptoms of Hepatitis A infection, including sudden onset of abdominal discomfort, dark urine, fever diarrhea, pale white stools and yellow skin and eyes (jaundice). Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention promptly.

Health officials will be offering free Hepatitis A vaccines to anyone who visited Piccolo Italian Market & Deli on Saturday, July 6 from 9am-12pm at the Sarasota County Health Department at their main office at 2200 Ringling Boulevard.

News of a food service worker in Sarasota County with Hepatitis A comes just two days after a food service worker in Manatee County was confirmed to have Hepatitis A.

In that case, health officials say an employee of the Ugly Grouper on Marina Drive on Holmes Beach was infected. Anyone who visited the restaurant prior to June 22 and has not been previously vaccinated for Hepatitis A should consider being vaccinated.

Anyone who visited the restaurant before June 22 and has not been vaccinated can attend a free Hepatitis A vaccination clinic at the Manatee County Health Department at 410 6th Avenue East in Bradenton on Saturday, July 6 from 8am until 1pm.

Health officials in Sarasota County want the public to know that less than five percent of cases involving Hepatitis A infections are food workers and that, to date, the Florida Department of Health has not found a single case of Hepatitis A being transmitted from a restaurant employee to a customer.

Officials say the majority of cases are close contacts of persons who are experiencing homelessness, or persons who use injected or non-injected drugs.

Once a case of Hepatitis A has been reported to the health department by a doctor, a county health department epidemiologist interviews the patient, creates a timeline of their last 50 days, including where they traveled, worked, and their food history, then identifies anyone who was in close contact to recommend the Hepatitis A vaccine to help prevent the possible spread of the illness.

Below is more information about the vaccinations from the Sarasota County Health Department:

People who should be vaccinated include:

  • All children at age one year
  • People who are experiencing homelessness
  • Users of recreational drugs, whether injected or not
  • Men who have sexual encounters with other men
  • People with direct contact with others who have Hepatitis A
  • Travelers to countries where Hepatitis A is common
  • People with chronic or long-term liver disease, including Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C
  • People with clotting-factor disorders
  • Family and caregivers of adoptees from countries where Hepatitis A is common

How is Hepatitis A treated or Hepatitis A infection prevented?

  • Hepatitis A vaccine is the best method of preventing infection.
  • No medicines can cure the disease once symptoms appear. People with Hepatitis A symptoms should seek medical care immediately.
  • Most people get better over time but may need to be hospitalized.
  • Previous infection with Hepatitis A provides immunity for the rest of a person’s life.
  • People who are exposed to Hepatitis A may be given vaccine or immune globulin within 14 days of exposure to prevent infection.

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