UPDATE: Date range expanded for hepatitis exposure
UPDATE: The risk period for the hepatitis transmission at a Chickamauga McDonald's has been extended by the Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District.
Officials now say that anyone who ate at the McDonald's at 106 LaFayette Road between March 4-29 should contact their health provider or the health department to see if they need to get a hepatitis A vaccination.
Free vaccination clinics will be held April 3-5 at both the Catoosa and Walker County Health Departments.
Here is when the clinics at both locations will be open:
- Wednesday, April 3 from 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Thursday, April 4 from 8:00 am -6:00 pm
- Friday, April 5 from 8:00 am - noon
PREVIOUS STORY: A restaurant employee at a Chickamauga McDonald's has tested positive for hepatitis A.
This is the second case in the area in about a week.
Last week it was reported that there was a case in an employee at the 'Western Sizzlin' in Ooltewah.
Now officials with the North Georgia Health District are urging anyone who ate at the McDonald's to contact their health care providers.
"When you see a sign in a restaurant that says all employees need to wash their hands, this is the reason," CHI Memorial Nurse Practitioner Kathy Dodd told Channel 3.
Health officials say despite it being "rare" that an infected food worker gets a customer sick, this may pose "some risk to the public."
"I know we've gotten some phone calls about the hepatitis A vaccine," Dodd said.
She told Channel 3, it's a disease with pretty common symptoms but that's if you see any symptoms at all.
"Nausea, vomiting, fever, kind of vague abdominal pain, which could be a number of diagnoses," she explained. "Two weeks before that sort of thing really shows up, you're contagious, so you could be spreading it."
Dodd says that was likely the case at the McDonald's location on Lafayette Road. According to the Georgia Department of Health, an investigation found that the employee had been working while infectious from March 4th-17th.
"There's several ways that you can spread it; food that hasn't been cooked, like raw shellfish; fruits and vegetables that haven't been washed well," Dodd told Channel 3.
She says people can get the disease orally but most times, it's the result of failing to wash hands after a trip to the bathroom.
To avoid getting it from someone else, Dodd says using caution when deciding on a place to eat out is a good practice.
"I'm sure everybody is thinking I'm not going to go out to a restaurant. But if you decide and choose your food well so that it's been cooked, make sure that you're going to a restaurant that has a good rating where you know that they're washing their hands and they're wearing gloves," she added.
If you or someone you know has eaten at the Lafayette Road McDonald's, both the Catoosa and Walker County health departments will be providing vaccinations free of charge.
You can stop by either of the locations on Friday, March 28, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. or on Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until noon.
Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.
ORIGINAL STORY: An employee at a Chickamauga, Georgia, area McDonald's has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A.
Anyone who ate at the McDonald's at 106 LaFayette Road between March 4-17 is being advised to contact their health care provider or the health department to see if they need to get a vaccination.
The Georgia Department of Public Health said an employee at the restaurant worked while infectious.
While it is relatively rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with Hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, 'there might be some risk to the public,” District Health Director Dr. Unini Odama said, “and therefore we are doing everything necessary to protect the public and anyone that might have been inadvertently exposed to the hepatitis A virus.'”
The clinics will be held:
- Thursday, March 28 from 8:00 am - 6:30 pm
- Friday, March 29 from 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
- Saturday, March 30 from 8:00 am - noon
The health department advises that anyone who visited the restaurant during March 4-17 do three things:
- Monitor their health for symptoms of hepatitis A infection up to fifty days after exposure.
- Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
- Stay at home and contact your healthcare provider immediately if symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A include loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, dark-colored urine and light-colored stools. Yellowing of the skin and eyes is also possible, the health department said. It is possible to get sick up to 50 days after being exposed to the virus.
For more information about hepatitis A, visit the CDC's website or the Northwest Georgia Public Health Department's website.