Oakland County, MI health officials issued a public health advisory Friday after an employee of Red Lobster in Novi tested positive for hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A Vaccine Image/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Hepatitis A Vaccine
Image/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Guests who consumed food from the restaurant between Jan. 14 – Feb. 14 may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

“Vaccination can prevent the disease if given within 14 days after potential exposure,” said Kathy Forzley, director of health & human services for Oakland County. “If you have eaten at this location during these dates and have not been vaccinated for hepatitis A or have a sudden onset of any symptoms, contact your doctor.”

The next special Hepatitis A vaccine clinic will be held Monday, Feb. 19, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 1010 E. West Maple Road in Walled Lake in the Easterseals office.

The hepatitis A vaccine is also available through some healthcare providers and many pharmacies.

Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by a virus. The virus is shed in feces and is most commonly spread from person to person by unclean hands contaminated with feces. Symptoms of infection may include sudden abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, headache, dark urine, and/or vomiting often followed by yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice). Symptoms may appear from 14-50 days after exposure, but average about one month.

“Michigan is experiencing a serious hepatitis A outbreak. Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months,” said Dr. Pamela Hackert, medical director for the Health Division. “Hepatitis A is contagious but preventable with vaccination, good hygiene, and proper sanitation of surfaces.”

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