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Hepatitis A Confirmed In Food Service Worker In Palm Beach Gardens

Proper hand washing can prevent the spread of hepatitis A
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The Florida Department of Health says a food service worker at Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens tested positive for hepatitis A. Customers who ate or drank there may have been exposed to the virus between May 1 and May 12.

DOH is encouraging diners who were at the restaurant between May 9 and May 12 to talk to a doctor and get a hepatitis A vaccine--it can be effective up to two weeks after exposure.

More from the DOH press release:

"Those who consumed food or beverage between May 1 and May 8 should instead observe for signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A infection. This includes sudden onset of abdominal discomfort, dark urine, fever, diarrhea, pale white stools, and yellow skin and eyes (jaundice). Anyone experiencing these symptoms should promptly seek medical attention.

Concerned customers can call DOH-Palm Beach at 561-840- 4568 or 561-671-4184 to leave their information and a call-back number to speak directly with a nurse. The Hepatitis A vaccine is readily available through your physician’s office or local pharmacies."

Hepatitis A is commonly spread when tiny traces of poop from an infected person make it into someone else's food or drink--known as the "fecal-oral route."

Proper handwashing can prevent this cycle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend washing hands under running water, with soap lathered all around (including under nails and on the backs of hands), for at least 20 seconds, and with a clean towel or air dryer to finish up.

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Sammy Mack
Public radio. Public health. Public policy.