Dalton restaurant thanks loyal customers after Hepatitis A exposure
A popular Dalton restaurant is back to business as usual after an employee was diagnosed with Hepatitis A.
Crescent City Tavern's general manager, Bruce Alredge, says they did not know the employee was infected.
“We caught it so quickly because our staff is actually trained to look for certain things. We noticed some issues. We didn't allow the employee to even be in the restaurant. He went to the hospital and the rest is history,” said Alredge. “We felt like it was important for us to get in front of this and be completely upfront.”
North Georgia Health District Immunization Coordinator, Ashley Deverell, says they knew an outbreak was coming.
“Typically in a year we may have one or two cases. Since the end of October, we had 15 cases in our district. Also, our neighboring district the Rome district has had several cases so it seems like this was imminent,” she explained.
Deverell says the disease is easily spread through food or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of feces from an infected person.
“Anyone who frequently dines out, a Hepatitis vaccination is a good idea because this can happen at any restaurant.”
It's why health inspectors are requiring the restaurant to make some immediate changes. They are recommending anyone who has recently eaten at Crescent City Tavern to see a doctor, and get a vaccine. The vaccinations are free of charge at the Whitfield County Health Department.
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“The biggest thing in food preparation is hand washing. We have added two extra steps to our hand-washing process. We will probably leave that in place quite frankly or at least part of it,” said Alredge.
The restaurant is also making voluntary changes to ensure their customers are safe.
“Everyone on staff is having the Hepatitis A vaccine as well as any food workers that are hired in the future. If you're working in the kitchen we're going to require you to have that vaccine,” said Alredge. “We appreciate the rally that our customers and our regular guests have given us. It's all like a big family down there and we expect to just keep going and doing the things that we do the right way.”
In Tennessee, there have been 797 cases of Hepatitis A from December 1, 2017 to February 1, 2019, according to the Tennessee Department of Health's website. In Hamilton County, there have been 91. Normally, Hamilton County only sees one case per year.