CHICKAMAUGA — The Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District officials have confirmed a case of Hepatitis A in a food handler at the McDonald‘s at 106 Lafayette Road in Chickamauga.
An investigation found that this employee worked at the restaurant while infected during the month of March.
While it is relatively rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with Hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, “there might be some risk to the public,” says District Health Director Dr. Unini Odama, “and therefore we are doing everything necessary to protect the public and anyone that might have been inadvertently exposed to the Hepatitis A virus.”
The health department recommends that anyone who consumed food or drink at this restaurant between March 4 and March 29 contact their healthcare provider or local health department to determine if a Hepatitis A vaccination is needed to prevent the disease. Additional protective measures, such as immune globulin injections, may be recommended for certain people.
Free Hepatitis A vaccinations will continue to be provided at the Walker and Catoosa County Health Departments on the following dates:
- Wednesday, April 3, Now – 6:00 pm
- Thursday, April 4, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
- Friday, April 5, 8:00 am – 12:00 Noon
- April 8 to April 12 during regular hours of operation
The Walker County Health Department is at 603 E. Villanow Street in LaFayette. Their phone number is 706-638-5577.
According to the health department, anyone who consumed food or drink at the restaurant in March should also:
- Monitor their health for symptoms of Hepatitis A infection up to 50 days after exposure.
- Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
- Stay home and contact your healthcare provider immediately if symptoms of Hepatitis A infection develop.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, dark-colored urine and light-colored stools. Yellowing of the skin or eyes may also appear.
Hepatitis A is acquired when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.
The virus spreads when an infected person does not wash his/her hands adequately after using the toilet or engages in behaviors that increase risk of infection. Careful hand washing, including under the fingernails, with soap and water, along with vaccination of anyone at risk of infection, will prevent spread of this disease.