Hillsborough County health officials are reporting a positive case of hepatitis A (Hep A) in a food service worker in Ybor City.
The individual worked at Hamburger Mary’s Bar and Grille located at 1800 East 8th Avenue in Tampa between October 4 – 20.
The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County says if you frequented this restaurant October 4 – 20, and have not previously been vaccinated for hepatitis A, you should be vaccinated. If you have previously received the hepatitis A vaccine you do not need to take additional action.
Hep A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus, which is a different virus from the viruses that cause hep B or hep C. It is usually spread when a person ingests tiny amounts of fecal matter from contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by the feces, or stool, of an infected person.
Risk factors for getting hep A include: close contact with someone who has hep A, illicit drug use, homelessness, or incarceration. Risk factors for having more severe symptoms of hep A include having other infections or chronic diseases like hep B or C, HIV/AIDS or diabetes.
Typical symptoms of hep A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. A person can transmit the virus to others up to two weeks before and one week after symptoms appear.
The virus can cause illness anytime from two to seven weeks after exposure. If infected, most people will develop symptoms three to four weeks after exposure. Many people, especially children, may have no symptoms. The older a person is when they get hep A, typically the more severe symptoms they have. Up to one in three adults are typically hospitalized. Almost all people who get hep A recover completely and do not have any lasting liver damage, although they may feel sick for months. Death due to hep A is rare, but is more likely in patients with other liver diseases (like hep B or C).
Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A. People who should be vaccinated for hepatitis A include:
- All children at age 1 year
- People who are experiencing homelessness
- Users of recreational drugs, whether injected or not
- Men who have sexual encounters with other men
- People with direct contact with others who have hepatitis A
- Travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common
- People with chronic or long-term liver disease, including hepatitis B or hepatitis C
- People with clotting-factor disorders
- Family and caregivers of adoptees from countries where hepatitis A is common
The Department of Health in Hillsborough is offering the vaccine at its Sulphur Springs location at 8605 Mitchell Avenue in Tampa. The facility will be open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.
A 24-hour hotline has been set up for people who have questions about Hepatitis A. The number to call is 813-307-8004.