PASCO COUNTY, Fla. -- If you shop and eat at the Walmart in New Port Richey, we have a Hepatitis A warning you need to know about.
The ABC Action News I-Team just uncovered that the Walmart store at 8745 State Road 54 had an employee who worked in its food prep area test positive for the contagious virus in January.
At that time, the Department of Agriculture found improper and inadequate hand washing and glove use during their inspection.
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The state also found cross contamination issues while using gloves and preparing ready to eat food along with employees not washing food contact surfaces between tasks.
The inspection report also documented no hand soap provided at the employee's hand sink and no knowledge of the store's employee health policy.
Walmart released the following statement:
“We care about the health and safety of our customers and associates. In January, we worked closely with the local health department and followed the outlined procedures and guidance they provided. Additionally, we took steps to identify those potentially at risk and held educational sessions at our facilities where we shared health and testing information with our associates.”
Hepatitis A has become an epidemic in the bay area and the state with more than 1,500 confirmed cases in Florida since January 2018.
The Hepatitis A virus is spread when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks that have been contaminated with small undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.
Pinellas County Health Department is offering Hepatitis A vaccines to the public at no cost at several vaccine centers. For more information on where you can get these free vaccines in Pinellas County, you can click here . Other Florida counties, including Hillsborough, also provide free or discounted Hepatitis A vaccines. You can click here for more information .
For more information on Hepatitis A and guidelines from the federal government, visit: www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm.
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