DETROIT -- Food workers are being encouraged to get a Hepatitis A vaccine shot by the Detroit Health Department in the wake of an outbreak hitting southeast Michigan.
The Detroit Health Department recommends that all food establishments in the city make arrangements for workers to get vaccinated. Food workers include those who work at restaurants, bars, fast food establishments and delis.
Officials report that 692 people in southeast Michigan may have been infected by the contagious liver disease, 154 of whom are Detroit residents, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The Detroit Free Press reports that a vaccination clinic was scheduled for Monday at the Samaritan Center, Kilpatrick Conference Room, 5555 Conner.
"The Detroit Health Department strongly encourages all ford worker to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A," Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, director and health officer for the DHD, told the Free Press. “By getting the Hepatitis A vaccine, it helps to protect the food worker, and the community."
Restaurant owners or managers may call the DHD to arrange for employee vaccination at 313-410-8142.
How To Protect Yourself From Food Poisoning & Hepatitis A
Contamination usually arises from improper handling, preparation, or food storage.
Good hygiene practices before, during, and after food preparation can reduce the chances of contracting an illness. You can protect yourself by choosing which restaurants you patronize, but there are food poisoning outbreaks at major restaurant chains.
Restaurants are inspected by the local health department to make sure they are clean and have adequate kitchen facilities.
Hepatitis A is spread through contaminated food or water, or close personal contact with an infected person. Officials say the best way to prevent its spread is to:
- Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing a diaper.
- Thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water during food preparation and before eating food.
- Avoiding undercooked or raw shellfish.
- Not preparing food for others if you are ill.
- Getting a Hepatitis A vaccine.
According to Mayo Clinic, signs typically don't appear until an infected person has had the virus for a few weeks.
Symptoms may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially in the area of your liver on your right side beneath your lower ribs
- Clay-colored bowel movements
- Loss of appetite
- Low-grade fever
- Dark urine
- Joint pain
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
If you've been exposed to Hepatitis A, having a Hepatitis A vaccine or immunoglobulin therapy within two weeks of exposure may protect you from infection, according to Mayo Clinic.
For more information, contact Wayne County's health department at (734) 727-7078. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information about the disease on its website, www.cdc.gov/hepatitis.
Food Poisoning & Hepatitis A Statistics
According to the Detroit Free Press, there have been 319 cases of confirmed Hepatitis A from Aug. 1, 2016 to Sept. 15, 2017 -- a 16-fold increase from Aug. 1, 2014 to Sept. 15, 2015. There have been 14 deaths.
Food poisoning, also known as food borne illnesses, is common in the United States and can often result in very serious injuries. Food poisoning is especially dangerous in cases involving children, the elderly, and those who have compromised immune systems.
In the United States, there are an estimated 76 million cases of food poisoning or food borne illnesses each year, resulting in approximately 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths.
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