DETROIT -- A Detroit resident who works as a crew member at a McDonald's on West Grand Boulevard has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A, according to the Detroit Health Department which is investigating the case.
The address for the McDonald's is 2889 West Grand Blvd. in the New Center Area.
According to a news release from the department, the employee stopped working at the restaurant after symptoms began, and the Detroit Health Department has notified the establishment that the infected employee cannot return to work until approved by their doctor.
The franchise owner put out the following statement about the situation, according to WXYZ-TV:
"As a long-time neighbor in the Detroit community, I care very deeply for the health and well-being of my employees and customers. Our employee has been treated by their personal physician and we wish our employee a quick recovery. We appreciate the partnership with the Detroit Health Department, and it is important to note that the department has determined that there are no further concerns to public safety in this situation and it is safe for the public and employees to eat and work at this McDonald’s restaurant."
While the risk of infection to customers is low, the Health Department is recommending vaccinations for anyone who ate at the restaurant from Nov. 8-Nov. 22.
Since Aug. 1, 2016, there have been 526 cases of hepatitis A, including 20 fatalities, identified as related to an outbreak in Southeast Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
"The Detroit Health Department is working diligently to ensure a comprehensive food safety protocol is being followed at McDonald's," DHD Director Joneigh Khaldun, M.D., said in a statement. "Our priority is to protect our residents and those of surrounding communities who may have been exposed."
According to the DHD release, McDonald’s has been cooperative with the investigation, and has hired a third party company to thoroughly clean and sanitize the establishment. They are also arranging to have all of the employees at the establishment vaccinated.
The Detroit Health Department will be offering free Hepatitis A vaccines to uninsured Detroit residents at both of its Immunization Clinics: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Wednesday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. The clinics are located at:
- The Samaritan Center (5555 Conner Street Detroit, MI 48213) -- 313-410-8142
- The Family Place (8726 Woodward Avenue Detroit, MI 48202) -- 313-410-7803
The Detroit Health Department recommends that non-Detroit residents contact their local Health Department if they are uninsured and consumed food and beverages at the McDonald’s at 2889 West Grand Blvd during the exposure period. Information for the local health departments:
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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