Citrus County — The Florida Department of Health in Citrus County (DOH-Citrus) has identified a positive case of hepatitis A in a food service worker in Homosassa.
DOH-Citrus conducted an epidemiological investigation and Friday determined an individual who worked at Old Mill Tavern, located at 10465 W. Yulee Dr. in Homosassa, from January 19 through February 3 may have been infectious.
The hepatitis A vaccine may provide protection against the disease if given within two weeks after exposure. Therefore, the hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for anyone who ate or drank at this restaurant between January 24 through February 3. Those who consumed food or beverage between January 19 through January 23 should instead observe for signs and symptoms of hepatitis A infection. This includes sudden onset of abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, fever, diarrhea, pale white stools, or yellow skin and eyes (jaundice). Anyone experiencing these symptoms should promptly seek medical attention.
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.
Those with specific questions about exposure to hepatitis A at Old Mill Tavern can call 352-527-0068 to reach DOH-Citrus.
DOH-Citrus is encouraging all health care providers, including hospital emergency departments to stay on high alert and immediately report cases of Hepatitis A to DOH-Citrus, as well as identify those who would benefit from vaccination.
Contact your county’s health department for hepatitis A vaccinations if you live outside Citrus County. Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A. People who should be vaccinated for hepatitis A include:
• All children at the age of 12 months
• 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/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
DOH-Citrus is offering the hepatitis A vaccine at no cost for individuals who ate or drank at this restaurant between January 24 thru February 3 at the health department in Lecanto, 3700 W. Sovereign Path on the following dates:
•Saturday, February 8, from 9 a.m. to noon
•Monday, February 10, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious disease that attacks the liver. People infected with hepatitis A are most contagious from two weeks before the onset of symptoms to one week afterward. Not everyone who is infected will have all the symptoms. Symptoms usually start within 28 days of exposure to the virus with a range of 15-50 days. Symptoms can include:
•Jaundice (yellowing skin and whites of eyes)
•Loss of appetite
•Nausea and vomiting
•Pale or clay-colored stool
How is hepatitis A treated or hepatitis A infection prevented?
Hepatitis A vaccine is the best method of preventing infection.
Practicing good hand hygiene plays an important role in preventing the spread of hepatitis A.
Use soap and running water and wash for at least 20 seconds, wash hands after changing a diaper or caring for a person, and wash hands before preparing, serving or eating food.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not kill the hepatitis A virus.
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 that are exposed to hepatitis A may be given vaccine or immune globulin within 14 days of exposure to prevent infection.