Toronto Public Health announced last week that at least one employee at the Wendy’s restaurant located at 438 Nugget Ave. in Scarborough has tested positive for hepatitis A.
Although the health department believes the risk to Wendy’s customers is low, anyone who consumed food purchased at the Wendy’s restaurant between July 26 and August 6 is asked to watch for signs of hepatitis A infection.
Seventy percent of children younger than six years of age who contract hepatitis A do not show symptoms of infection. In those young children who do experience symptoms, and in older children and adults, symptoms typically begin about 28 days after contracting hepatitis A, but can begin as early as 15 days or as late as 50 days after exposure. Typical symptoms include muscle aches, headache, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, fever, and malaise.
After a few days of the aforementioned symptoms, jaundice (also termed “icterus”) sets in. Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes that occurs because bile flows poorly through the liver and backs up into the blood. The urine of a person infected with hepatitis A will turn dark with bile and the stool light or clay-colored from lack of bile. When jaundice sets in, the initial manifestations–such as fever and headache–begin to subside.
In general, symptoms usually last less than 2 months, although 10 to 15 percent of people infected with hepatitis A have prolonged or relapsing disease for up to 6 months.
According to Toronto Public Health, ìHepatitis A is found in the stool (bowel movement) of persons infected with the virus. Hand hygiene is extremely important in preventing the spread of Hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is not spread by coughing or sneezing. Most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage.
A hepatitis A vaccine is available and is recommended as a childhood vaccine.
To learn more about hepatitis A, visit www.about-hepatitis.com.