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San Diego McDonald’s Employee Carried Hepatitis A in Late August

An employee of a McDonalds in San Diego, California was infected with Hepatitis A in late August and may have passed the virus on to consumers, warns the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

The McDonalds where the individual works is located inside the Walmart at 3412 College Avenue. Customers who ate at that restaurant between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. on August 25, 26, 27 or 30 may have been exposed to the virus and should contact their healthcare providers, health officials advise.

Only one employee at the location was infected with the virus, and no illnesses have been reported among patrons, a representative for San Diego County HHSA told Food Safety News.

Walmart shoppers who did not eat at the McDonalds in the store are not at risk of infection, say HHSA officials, according to the San Diego County Newsletter.

Those who ate at the restaurant during the specified times may need to receive a Hepatitis A shot or immune globulin.

The Hepatitis A shot is recommended for healthy individuals ages 12 months to 40 years old. People ages 41-59 may receive either the Hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin. For those aged 60 or older, children under 12 months and immunocompromised individuals, immune globulin is recommended.

“The risk to the public is low, but anyone who ate at the restaurant on those dates and times should be aware of the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A,” said Wilma Wooten, County Public Health Officer, according to the Newsletter. “Anyone who has been immunized with the Hepatitis A vaccine or previously had the disease is considered protected from the virus.”

Hepatitis A vaccinations are available through primary healthcare providers, and will also be offered at the San Diego HHSA Central Regional Public Health Center, located at 5502 University Avenue, where shots will be given at little to no cost to patients. The Health Center will be holding a special clinic at this address on Saturday, September 8 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.. Hepatitis A immunizations will be given during that time.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A infection appear between two and seven weeks after infection, and include low-grade fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain in the right side beneath the lower ribs (in the area of the liver), dark urine, muscle pain and jaundice (a yellowing of the eyes or skin).

Some carriers of the virus don’t develop symptoms.

Hepatitis A is spread via fecal matter and contracted by ingesting the virus. An important step in preventing the spread of infection is washing hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with warm soap and water.

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