NOVI (WWJ) – Amid a statewide outbreak, Oakland County health officials are warning residents and visitors about yet another case of Hepatitis A.
This time an employee was found with the disease at the Red Lobster restaurant along Novi Road, near Twelve Oaks Mall, in Novi.
The Oakland County Health Division says anyone who ate at that location between January 14 and February 14 may have been exposed. Anyone who has not been vaccinated or has started to show symptoms should contact a doctor.
“Vaccination can prevent the disease if given within 14 days after potential exposure,” said Kathy Forzley, Director of Health & Human Services for Oakland County.
Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by a virus. The virus is shed in feces and is most commonly spread from person to person by unclean hands contaminated with feces. Symptoms of infection may include sudden abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, headache, dark urine, and/or vomiting often followed by yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice). Symptoms may appear from 14-50 days after exposure, but average about one month.
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 preparation for at least three days after symptoms end.
• Exclude ill food service workers from the establishment immediately until clearance from OCHD is received.
The Health Division will host two Hep A only vaccine clinics:
• Saturday, Feb. 17, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac.
• Monday, Feb. 19, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 1010 E. West Maple Road in Walled Lake in the Easterseals office.
A vaccine is also available through some healthcare providers and many pharmacies. Call ahead to ensure your provider or pharmacy has the vaccine available. For Oakland County residents, vaccines are available at both Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield.
For clinic locations and hours, or more information about hepatitis A, visit www.oakgov.com/health. For those with questions, a Nurse On Call is available at 800- 848-5533 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.