December 13, 2018
Nina Mattei, Public Information Officer
The Florida Department of Health in Hernando County (DOH-Hernando) has identified a positive case of hepatitis A in a food service worker in Hernando Beach. Following lab confirmation on December 11, DOH-Hernando immediately began conducting an epidemiological investigation and today determined the individual worked at Zig Zag Scallop Restaurant located at 4417 Calienta Street between December 1 – 3.
If you frequented this restaurant December 1 – 3, 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. DOH-Hernando is offering the vaccine at no cost at their clinic, located at 7551 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill, FL 34606.
DOH-Hernando is also offering a special vaccination clinic at the Spring Hill location for those who need to receive the hepatitis a vaccine. The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 15.
On November 28, the department issued a health advisory to inform the public of an increase in hepatitis A cases in Florida and outbreaks reported across the country. The advisory reemphasized the important of the hepatitis A vaccination. DOH-Hernando is encouraging all healthcare providers, including hospital emergency departments, to stay on high alert and immediately report cases to the Florida Department of Health.
A 24-hour hotline has been set up for people who have questions about hepatitis A. The number to call is 352-247-6111.
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
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious disease that attacks the liver. People infected with hepatitis A are most contagious from two weeks before onset of symptoms to one week afterwards. Not everyone who is infected will have all the symptoms. Symptoms usually start within 28 days of exposure to the virus with a range of 15-50 days. Symptoms can include:
- Jaundice (yellowing skin and whites of eyes)
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Dark-colored urine
- Pale or clay colored stool
How is Hepatitis A treated or Hepatitis A infection prevented?
- Practicing good hand hygiene – including thoroughly washing hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food – plays an important role in preventing the spread of hepatitis A.
- Hepatitis A vaccine is the best method of preventing infection.
- No medicines can cure the disease once symptoms appear. People with hepatitis A symptoms should seek medical care immediately.
- Most people get better over time but may need to be hospitalized.
- Previous infection with hepatitis A provides immunity for the rest of a person’s life.
- People that are exposed to hepatitis A may be given vaccine or immune globulin within 14 days of exposure to prevent infection.
Go to www.HernandoHealth.com or call (352) 540-6800 for information about DOH-Hernando. Follow us on Twitter @HealthyHernando.
About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.