Second food service worker diagnosed with Hepatitis A in Sarasota County in past month

Hep A Sarasota

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - For the fourth time this year, a food service worker has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

The Department of Health in Sarasota conducted an epidemiological investigation and determined a person working at Beef 'O Brady’s at 1037 Sumter Boulevard in North Port from November 30 to December 20 may have been infectious.

If you ate or drank at the restaurant between December 7-20, the Department of Health says the Hepatitis A vaccine may provide protection against the disease if given within two weeks after exposure.

If you previously have received the Hepatitis A vaccine or have had a past history of a Hepatitis A infection, you are considered immune to the Hepatitis A virus and do not need to take additional action.

Anyone who went to the restaurant between November 30 and December 6 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.

Those with specific questions about exposure to Hepatitis A at Beef 'O Brady’s can call 941-861-2873 to reach the health department’s epidemiology staff.

This is the fourth time this year that a food service worker has tested positive for Hepatitis A. In June, a food service worker at a Sarasota deli and a food service worker at a seafood restaurant on Holmes Beach both tested positive for the disease. Then last month, a food service worker at a Chinese restaurant in Sarasota tested positive for the disease.

Health officials in Sarasota County want the public to know that less than five percent of cases involving Hepatitis A infections involve food service workers. 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.

Copyright 2019 WWSB. All rights reserved.