A food worker at the McDonald’s restaurant at 2500 Mound Road in Waterloo, New York has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to the Seneca County Health Department. Anyone who ate there in late October and early November is at risk for contracting this illness. There is a low risk of getting the disease, but if you have not been vaccinated for hepatitis A, you should get either a hepatitis A vaccination or an immune globulin vaccination, depending on your health and other factors.
The ill food worker worked there October 29, October 31, November 2, November 3, November 5, November 6, and November 8, 2015. If you ate there on October 29, 2015, it is too late to get a shot.
If you ate there on October 31, 2015, you need to get a shot today. Hepatitis A and immune globulin vaccinations are only effective if given within two weeks of exposure. If you ate at that restaurant on any of the other dates you should get a shot today or tomorrow.
The Seneca County Health Department is holding clinics today and tomorrow to offer vaccinations. They are held at the Mynderse Academy Gymnasium at 105 Troy Street in Seneca Falls, New York. The clinic hours are 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm today, and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on November 15. To preregister for a clinic, visit the New York State Department of Health web site. There is no cost for treatment at these clinics.
The worker may have been shedding the virus on those dates before he or she was diagnosed. Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that is caused by a virus. It is spread when someone eats fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts, from objects, food, or drinks. The illness can be mild or very severe.
The symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay colored bowel movements, joint pain, and jaundice. If you choose not to get vaccinated, or ate at that McDonald’s on October 29, 2015, watch yourself for these symptoms over the next six weeks. If you do get sick, see your doctor and tell him you may have been exposed to hepatitis A. Symptoms usually start within two to six weeks of exposure.
Almost everyone who gets hepatitis A recovers completely with no liver damage, although they may feel ill for months. Hepatitis A can cause liver failure, but this complication is rare. Those who are older than age 50 or have other liver diseases are more likely to suffer this complication.
If you have been vaccinated for hepatitis A in the past or have had the illness, you are probably not in jeopardy. Contact your doctor with any questions. If you can’t get to one of the clinics, call your doctor and explain the situation. It’s important to get a vaccination within two weeks from the time of possible exposure. For questions, call the New York State Department of Health Hotline at 1-844-364-6397.