MONROE (WWJ) – The Monroe County Health Department is confirming a second case of hepatitis A in a food worker at a Tim Hortons restaurant.

Officials say anyone who consumed food or beverages at the Tim Hortons at 404 S. Monroe Street from December 10 to 28 may have been exposed to the virus. Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, chills, and yellow skin and eyes. Symptoms occur between 15 and 50 days after exposure and can last for several weeks to months and can occasionally be fatal.

Because a Hepatitis A vaccine can prevent illness if it’s given within 14 days of exposure, anyone who consumed products from the restaurant during the established time frame should still get vaccinated.

The health department is working to vaccinate all employees and determine if there are more cases.

Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by a virus, which is shed in feces and is most commonly spread from person to person by unclean hands contaminated with feces.

To reduce the risk of hepatitis A:

• Get the hepatitis A vaccine.
• Wash hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing and eating food. Rub hands vigorously with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
• Clean and disinfect all surface areas, especially while someone in the household or workplace has symptoms. Particular care needs to be taken with areas such as toilets, sinks, trash, door knobs, and faucet handles.
• Do not prepare food if you have symptoms and refrain from food prep for at least three days after symptoms have ended.
• Exclude ill food service workers from the establishment immediately until clearance from OCHD is received.

The hepatitis A vaccine is available through some healthcare providers and many pharmacies. Call ahead to ensure your provider or pharmacy has the vaccine available. For those who live in Wayne County and do not have insurance coverage, Hepatitis A vaccine is available at the Wayne County Health Department Clinic located at 33030 Van Born Road in Wayne, Michigan. Macomb and Oakland County residents who are uninsured could call their local health department.

Vaccination is especially recommended for the following at–risk individuals:

  • Health care workers who have direct contact with patients
  • People who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs
  • People who participate in commercial exchange of sexual practices
  • People who are homeless or in transient living situations
  • People who are or have recently been incarcerated
  • Close personal contacts (e.g., household, sexual) of hepatitis A patients
  • Food handlers
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People with liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Persons with chronic liver disease have an elevated risk of death from liver failure.
  • Any person who wishes to be immune to hepatitis A
  • People who live, work, or recreate in SE Michigan and are concerned about getting hepatitis A

Southeast Michigan is experiencing a serious hepatitis A outbreak. Learn more at www.mi.gov/hepatitisaoutbreak. Another good source of information is The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/hepatitis.

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