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Food service worker at Sandpiper Grille tests positive for hep A, Department of Health says

Posted at 5:32 PM, Apr 04, 2019

SUN CITY CENTER, Fla. — A food service worker at Sandpiper Grille in Sun City Center has tested positive for hepatitis A, according to the Department of Health in Hillsborough County.

The department recommends anyone who ate or drank at the restaurant between March 20 and 24 to get a hepatitis A vaccination. Those who have previously received the hepatitis A vaccine do not need to take additional action.

Lab results confirmed the worker tested positive. The worker handled food as a normal part of their work duties, according to the DOH.

ABC Action News has learned, the restaurant abruptly shutdown after health inspectors issued 36 violations including the presence of a rat, rodent droppings, and roaches.

Inspectors also warn foods like shrimp, sausage, coleslaw, and ranch dressing were stored in potentially hazardous temperatures that could make you sick.

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DOH-Hillsborough is offering the vaccine weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Sulphur Springs Health Complex, located at 8605 Mitchell Ave, for free to those who may have been exposed.

On Saturday, a special vaccination clinic will also be set up at the Joyce Ely Health Center (WIC Location), 205 14th Avenue, S.E., Ruskin, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

A hotline has been set up for people who may have questions. The number to call is 813-307-8004.

Hepatitis A is a a highly contagious disease that attacks the liver. It can be spread when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.

People infected with hepatitis A are most contagious from two weeks before the 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 to 50 days.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue/tired
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Pale or clay colored stool

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

Hepatitis A vaccine is the best method of preventing infection, according to DOH. No medicines can cure the disease once symptoms appear. People with hepatitis A symptoms should seek medical care immediately.