Restaurant employee confirmed to have case of Hepatitis A
Many people are stopping by the Ooltewah Health Center to be tested for Hepatitis A after the Hamilton County Health Department recently confirmed a Western Sizzlin Restaurant Ooltewah employee was diagnosed with the infection.
The Health Department tries to keep outbreaks from happening, but getting sick is a risk that comes along with eating out.
Bonnie Deakins works at the Hamilton County Health Department.
She says anytime food is being prepared it's best to practice good hygiene.
Deakins explains how people can get Hepatitis A.
“Fecally and orally spread,” said Bonnie Deakins. “So, the hand washing especially after using the restroom, and before preparing food is important.”
Each restaurant in Tennessee has a minimum health requirement that must be met in order to continue to serve food.
Employees also have a set of rules they must follow.
One is washing their hands regularly.
“They are not eating, drinking or chewing tobacco in the food prep area. If they're doing those things, and not washing their hands before they go back to prep,” said Deakins.
In the event that someone does get sick, an employer or doctor can advise them to stay home.
Deakins has a list of a few symptoms of an illness restaurant employees, and customers should take into account.
“Vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, jaundice, yellowing of the eyes and fever with a sore throat,” said Deakins.
Deakins says the health department offers a class for employees to help them learn more about cleanliness.
She says while it's not required, several employers encourage their staff to attend.
The one-day class helps them be prepared for the monthly inspection.
“Food temperatures, keeping all the establishment services clean and prepared,” said Deakins. “There are about 45 items on that inspection sheet.”
If you have any concerns, then you can get free hepatitis a vaccine.
On Sunday, the health department gave out over 500 Hepatitis A vaccines.