Food Service Workers should get a damn Vaccine.
Chemung County is alerting the public to a potential exposure of a confirmed case of the Hepatitis A virus.
The Chemung County Health Department launched a disease investigation of a Schuyler County resident who worked at two area Dunkin Donuts while infected.
Now, the county is setting up a free clinic for community members, urging those who may have had any contact with the infected individual to get a vaccine to protect against Hepatitis A. Those details can be found below.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus. More in-depth details about the virus can be found below.
Officials say, following laboratory testing, interviews and a restaurant inspection, an employee who handles food at Dunkin Donuts on Corning Road (Miracle Mile) in Elmira Heights was identified with the Hepatitis A virus.
The worker also worked one day at the Dunkin Donuts in the Walmart store on County Road 64 in Horseheads.
The Dunkin locations have been notified of the potential exposure and the employee has not worked since February 11th.
Additionally, the Health Department has advised the manager to send any staff reporting Hepatitis A virus related symptoms for medical evaluation before returning to work.
Employees of the restaurant will be offered post exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which is medicine to prevent Hepatitis A after a possible exposure.
Dunkin Donuts in Elmira Heights will be subject to additional inspections over the coming weeks and is complying with NYSDOH recommendations.
As a result of this potential Hepatitis A virus exposure, the Chemung County Health Department is advising anyone who ate food or drinks via dine-in, takeout, delivery or utilized the restroom at Dunkin Donuts in Elmira Heights (2501 Corning Rd., Elmira Heights, NY 14903) on February 9 or February 11, 2021 to receive free Hepatitis A vaccine from the Chemung County Health Department to prevent potentially exposed individuals from becoming infected.
Masks are required at the clinic. The vaccination clinic will be held at:
Where: Mass Vaccination Clinic, 17 Aviation Dr., Horseheads, NY 14845
When: Saturday February 20th from 9 am to Noon and Sunday, February 21st Noon to 3 pm
Those attending the Clinic are encouraged to pre-register to save time during the onsite registration process. Pre-registration may be completed prior to arrival by visiting, www.chemungcountyny.gov/HepA and look for the pre-registration links.
“We encourage those who may have been exposed during these specific timeframes to visit the clinic to receive free post exposure prophylaxis,” stated Public Health Director Peter Buzzetti.
Those who ate food or drinks via dine-in, takeout, delivery or utilized the restroom at either Dunkin Donuts locations between January 26, 2021 and February 5, 2021 may have been exposed but will not benefit from Hepatitis A vaccine to prevent infection from this exposure and are encouraged to monitor themselves and their families for symptoms for 50 days after consuming the food.
Those who develop symptoms suggestive of Hepatitis A virus should seek medical evaluation.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A virus can include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored stools
- Joint pain
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
The disease is rarely fatal and most people recover in a few weeks without any complications. Adults have signs and symptoms of illness more often than children.
Infants and young children tend to have very mild symptoms and are less likely to develop jaundice than are older children and adults. Not everyone who is infected will have all of the symptoms.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus. It can range from no symptoms at all, to a mild illness lasting a few weeks, to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, Hepatitis A can cause death in some people.
Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. This can happen from eating at a restaurant, sharing food or drink, or eating when traveling in one of the many countries outside the United States with a high Hepatitis A infection rate.
Those with a past infection from Hepatitis A cannot be re-infected. He or she is immune for life and does not continue to carry the virus.
People who are most at risk of Hepatitis A include:
- People with direct contact with someone who has a Hepatitis A infection. This can occur up to 2 weeks before the infected person develops symptoms, so you may not be aware of your exposure at the time.
- Travelers to countries where Hepatitis A is common, which include most countries outside the United States. More information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s web site: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/hepatitis-a
- Men who have sexual contact with men,
- People who use drugs, both injection and non-injection drugs, and
- Homeless individuals
For more information about Hepatitis A, visit: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/hepatitis/hepatitis_a/food_service_workers_fact_sheet.htm