Patrons of the 800 Degrees Three Fires restaurant in Fort Wayne, Indiana may be at risk for hepatitis A infection, warned health officials Friday. A worker at the restaurant tested positive for the virus, prompting the Allen County Health Department to issue a public health advisory. The Department is urging customers who ate or drank at the 800 Degrees Three Fires restaurant on Illinois Road between May 18 and May 26, 2013 to get the hepatitis A vaccine if they have not already had it. The vaccine will be provided free of charge at the Southwest Allen County Schools Transportation Center at 4814 Homestead Road at the following times:
- Saturday, June 1 from Noon.-8 p.m.
- Sunday, June 2 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
The clinic will be set up as a drive-thru so that people can receive the vaccine from their cars. “We are asking these restaurant patrons to get this vaccination as a precautionary measure,” said Allen County Health Commissioner Deborah McMahan in a statement Friday. “Those who are having symptoms of the illness should not come to the vaccination clinic but should seek medical attention.” The vaccine will not be effective for patrons who visited the restaurant before May 18, notes the health department, but individuals experiencing symptoms of hepatitis A infection should seek medical attention. Symptoms of hepatitis A infection generally appear two to six weeks after exposure, and include fever, nausea loss of appetite, pain in the upper right side of the abdomen and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). The virus is highly contagious, and spreads from person to person via the fecal-oral route. To date, none of the restaurant’s other employees have tested positive for hepatitis A, nor have any cases been reported among patrons. “The best way to control the spread of hepatitis A and many other illnesses is through proper hand washing, especially after using the restroom, changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food,” advises the health department. “Hand washing should include 20 seconds of vigorous soaping of all parts of the hands, especially between fingers and under fingernails.”