January 23, 2018

Hepatitis A Exposure at Two Detroit, MI Restaurants

The Detroit Health Department is investigating two separate cases of hepatitis A in food workers at two restaurants in that city in Michigan. The first is a worker at Firewater Bar and Grill located at 6521 John R. Street. The second person works as a crew member at Little Caesars Pizza located at 12712 Fenkell.

Hepatitis A Vial

Those food workers worked from October 15 through the 26th, 2017. Anyone who patronized Firewater Bar and Grill from October 17 to October 24, 2017, or who consumed food from Little Caesars Pizza from October 17 through October 26, 2017 should consult their doctor to get a vaccination as soon as possible.  You will need a hepatitis A or immune globulin shot to prevent this illness from developing.

If you visited those facilities on October 15 or 16, it’s too late for a vaccination, since it must be given within two weeks of exposure. You need to monitor yourself for the symptoms of hepatitis A for the next 50 days, because that’s how long it can take from symptoms to appear. Most people get sick about two weeks after exposure to the virus. If you do develop those symptoms, see your doctor.

The symptoms of hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, clay colored stools, and dark urine. The virus is passed through the fecal-oral route, which means that a tiny bit of poop that contains the virus has contaminated surfaces, food, or drink, and you have eaten it.

This illness can be mild or it can cause severe symptoms that can last for months. People most at risk for serious complications include the elderly, those with liver disease, and anyone with a suppressed immune system.

The Detroit Health Department is offering free hepatitis A vaccines at its Immunization Clinics on Monday, Tuesday Thursday, and Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and Wednesday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Those clinics are located at The Samaritan Center at 5555 Conner Street in Detroit, MI 48213, and The Family Place at 8726 Woodward Avenue in Detroit, MI 48202. You can contact the Detroit Health Department at 313-876-4000 if you have any questions or concerns about this issue.

There has been an increase in hepatitis A cases in Southeast Michigan since 2016. Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, Director and Health Officer of the Health Department said in a statement, “The Detroit Health Department has been working diligently to make sure we are identifying cases of hepatitis A in the city, and working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, hospitals, physicians, and community partners to increase awareness and encourage vaccination.”

Vaccination is the best way to prevent this illness. But you should also always wash your hands well with soap and water after using the bathroom and preparing food or drinks for others. Stay home from school or work if you are sick, especially with a diarrheal illness.

Those who are most at risk for this illness include people who share injection and non-injection street drugs, have sexual activities with someone who has the illness, or are homeless. Any0one who lives with someone with hepatitis A, or cares for them is also at high risk for contracting the illness.

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