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Hillsborough Co. offering free Hepatitis A vaccinations after restaurant employee tests positive

Sandpiper Grille worker tested positive for virus
Posted: 12:15 AM, Apr 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-09 06:59:55-04
Demand for Hepatitis A vaccine skyrockets

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The Hillsborough County health department is offering free Hepatitis A vaccinations to the public.

This comes after an employee with Sandpiper Grille in Sun City Center tested positive for the virus.

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If you had anything to eat or drink at the restaurant between March 20 and 24, health officials are encouraging you to get the vaccine. The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough Couty is offering the free shots on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Sulphur Springs Health Complex on Mitchell Avenue in Tampa. On Saturday, a special vaccination clinic will be held at the Joyce Ely Health Center on 14th Avenue Southeast in Ruskin between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Those who have previously received the Hepatitis A vaccine do not need to take additional action.

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

Food service worker at Sandpiper Grille tests positive for hep A

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 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

No medicines can cure the disease once symptoms appear. People with Hepatitis A symptoms should seek medical care immediately.