ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — If you enjoy going in for a snack or a quick meal at Wawa in Pinellas County, you should know that a case of hepatitis A was confirmed there recently.
Our ABC Action News I-Team uncovered the Wawa Store at 5901 9th Avenue North in St Petersburg had an employee test positive for the contagious disease in February.
According to a joint investigation by the Department of Agriculture and the Florida Health Department, inspectors went to Wawa after a food handler had a confirmed case of hepatitis A.
And during that inspection, the state found employees not washing their hands when multitasking.
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Wawa released the following statement:
"At Wawa, the health and safety of our customers is our top priority, and our strong food safety and associate health practices meet or exceed regulatory requirements.
We take any health-related issue very seriously. We follow all recommended precautions and required actions set forth by regulatory agencies, including any communication protocols should they deem there is any public health risk.
Public Relations Manager
Hepatitis A has become an epidemic in the Tampa Bay area and the state with more than 1,700 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.