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Business returns to normal after hepatitis A outbreak

Linda Cook

Quad-City Times

July 19, 2009

Fries, Happy Meals and coffee were served up for Sunday night supper at McDonald's in Milan, Ill.

The restaurant at 400 W. 1st St. was closed three days since Wednesday for intense cleaning and meeting other Rock Island County Health Department requirements after two employees were confirmed to have hepatitis A.

McDonald's reopened for business at 5 a.m. Saturday, said Dennis Gendron, Bettendorf, restaurant supervisor.

"We have had a good, steady flow of customers" since the eatery opened, he said Sunday.

"We really are getting very few questions. They're just glad we're open. Everything is functioning as normal."

Children played in the play area, while other groups of families and customers of all ages ordered inside from the menu and from the drive-through service.

Health department representatives "did extensive interviews of every employee," Gendron said. "We also voluntarily immunized every employee."

McDonald's first was notified by the Health Department that an employee had been diagnosed with Hepatitis A on July 13, Gendron said.

Rock Island County Public Health Administrator Wendy Trute said she will investigate why there was a failure in reporting a positive hepatitis A test result of the employee in June. McDonald's was unaware that the employee had it and did not have control over the delay in the report, she said.

Trute said two McDonald's employees were confirmed to have hepatitis A.

As of the end of last week, there were 19 confirmed cases in western Illinois - 11 requiring hospitalization.

Health officials said they had no updates on the situation Sunday, other than the planned immunization clinics scheduled for Monday and Tuesday for people who might have been exposed on certain dates at the restaurant.


Hepatitis A vaccines available today for exposed individuals

Rock Island County Health Department vaccination clinics will be held 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.Monday and Tuesday at Rock Island High School, 1400 25th Ave., Rock Island.

Health-care workers will administer either hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin to people exposed to hepatitis A while eating at the McDonald's restaurant in Milan, Ill. Treatment is free.

Only those people who ate at the restaurant from July 6-10, and July 13-14 will receive treatment. People who ate at the restaurant July 11 and 12 were not exposed to the disease, according to the Rock Island County Health Department.

The hepatitis A vaccine will be given to people ages 1-40, while immune globulin will be administered to people younger than 1 or older than 40.

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