A McDonald's worker in Seneca, NY has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A and may have spread that virus to coworkers and patrons during the time before the diagnosis.
Seneca County NY News Release
Hepatitis A Confirmed in Seneca County Food Worker
The Seneca County Health Department has confirmed a case of Hepatitis A in a food service worker employed at the McDonalds located at 2500 Mound Rd. Waterloo, NY. Public health officials are stressing there is a low risk of contracting illness, however, individuals who have not been previously vaccinated for Hepatitis A and who consumed food/drink from McDonalds on the following dates should consider treatment.
If you ate at McDonald’s at 2500 Mound Rd. Waterloo, NY on 10/31 you should attend the 11/14/15 clinic.
If you ate at McDonald’s at 2500 Mound Road Waterloo, NY on any of the following dates you should attend either the 11/14 or the 11/15 clinic.
Monday, November 2nd, 2015
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
Thursday, November, 5th 2015
Friday, November 6th 2015
Sunday, November 8th 2015
Clinics will be held offering Hepatitis A Vaccine
Saturday, November 14, 2015- 1:00 pm-8:00 pm
Sunday, November 15, 2015 – 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Mynderse Academy Gymnasium
105 Troy Street
Seneca Falls, NY 13148
To preregister for a clinic www.health.state.ny.us/gotoclinic/50
For other additional questions: New York State Department of Health Hotline: 1-844-364-6397
Waterloo/Seneca Falls Hepatitis A FAQ
What happened at the McDonalds in Waterloo?
A worker at the McDonalds on Route 414 and Mound Road in Waterloo NY, a short distance from Exit 41 off the NYS Thruway, worked while they may have been shedding Hepatitis A virus, before the worker was diagnosed with the illness. Because of how Hepatitis A is spread, this may have put customers and coworkers at that McDonalds at risk of acquiring Hepatitis A.
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter — even in microscopic amounts — from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces, or stool, of an infected person.
What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?
Some people with Hepatitis A do not have any symptoms. Children in particular may not show symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may include the following:
Loss of appetite
Clay-colored bowel movements
Jaundice (a yellowing of the skin or eyes)
What if I am too late to get the treatment, or choose to not get treated?
Monitor yourself for signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A over the next 4-6 weeks. If you have any symptoms, contact your physician and be sure to tell them that you may have been exposed to Hepatitis A.
Has my child already been vaccinated for Hepatitis A?
The vaccine for Hepatitis A for children is recommended, but not required for school entry. If you do not know if your child has received the Hepatitis A vaccine, you should contact your child’s heathcare provider.
Is the Hepatitis A vaccine effective?
Yes, the Hepatitis A vaccine is highly effective in preventing Hepatitis A virus infection. Protection begins approximately 2 to 4 weeks after the first injection. A second injection in 6 monhts results in long-term protection.
Is the Hepatitis A vaccine safe?
Yes, the Hepatitis A vaccine is safe. No serious side effects have resulted from the Hepatitis A vaccine. Soreness at the injection site is the most common side effect reported. As with any medicine, there are very small risks that a serious problem could occur after someone gets the vaccine. However, the potential risks associated with Hepatitis A are much greater than the potential risks associated with the Hepatitis A vaccine. Before the Hepatitis A vaccine became available in the Unites States, more than 250,000 people were infected with Hepatitis A virus each year. Since the licensure of the first Hepatitis A vaccine in 1995, millions of doses of Hepatitis A vaccine have been given in the United States and worldwide.
Who should not receive the Hepatitis A vaccine?
People who have ever had a serious allergic reaction to the Hepatitis A vaccine or who are known to be allergic to any part of the Hepatitis A vaccine should not receive the vaccine. Tell those working at the clinic or your doctor if you have any severe allergies. Also, the vaccine is not licensed for use in infants under age 1 year.
If you are pregnant, it is OK to get the vaccine or immune globulin.
What is immune globulin?
Immune globulin is a substance made from human blood plasma that contains antibodies that protect against infection. It is given as a shot and provides short-term protection (approximately 3 months) against Hepatitis A. Immune globulin can be given either before exposure to the Hepatitis A virus (such as before travel to a country where Hepatitis A is common) or to prevent infection after exposure to the Hepatitis A virus. Immune globulin must be given within 2 weeks after exposure for the best protection.
How severe is Hepatitis A?
Almost all people who get Hepatitis A recover completely and do not have any lasting liver damage, although they may feel sick for months. Hepatitis A can sometimes cause liver failure and death, although this is rare and occurs more commonly in persons 50 years of age or older and persons with other liver diseases, such as Hepatitis B or C.
If I get Hepatitis A, when will symptoms start?
Symptoms will usually develop within 2-6 weeks after being exposed to the Hepatitis A virus. Most see symptoms start right around 4 weeks after exposure.
How is Hepatitis A treated? Is there a cure for Hepatitis A?
There are no special treatments for Hepatitis A. Most people with Hepatitis A will feel sick for a few months before they begin to feel better. A few people will need to be hospitalized. During this time, doctors usually recommend rest, adequate nutrition, and fluids. People with Hepatitis A should check with a health professional before taking any prescription pills, supplements, or over-the-counter medications, which can potentially damage the liver. Alcohol should be avoided.
Are there specific dates when this individual worked while possibly infectious?
Yes. These dates are Thursday October 29, Saturday October 31, Monday November 2, Tuesday November 3, Thursday November 5, Friday November 6, and Sunday November 8.
How likely am I to get sick? Who is at the highest risk?
Most people do not get sick when an employee at a restaurant has Hepatitis A. However, if an infected food handler is infectious and has poor hygiene, the risk goes up for patrons of that restaurant. The job duties of the ill employee involved front end duties—cashier, handling drinks, putting food on trays. This makes risk low, but there is still risk present.
Those at risk would be individuals who consumed food handled by the ill employee, or individuals who may have put their fingers in their mouth after handling objects handled by the ill employee. If you only used the bathroom at the McDonalds, you are at no risk.
Can anything be done to prevent getting sick?
If you were recently exposed to Hepatitis A virus and have not been vaccinated against Hepatitis A, you might benefit from an injection of either immune globulin or Hepatitis A vaccine. However, the vaccine or immune globulin must be given within the first 2 weeks after exposure to be effective. To this end, the Seneca County Health Department is setting up clinics to provide preventative treatment to individuals who visited the Waterloo McDonalds. (For those getting vaccine, a second vaccine in 6 months, at your physician, will result in maximum protection.)