PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- Another worker at Taco Bell in Pinellas County tested positive for Hepatitis A, the I-Team has uncovered.
The I-Team found out a worker at the Taco Bell at 8671 Ulmerton Road in Largo tested positive for Hepatitis A in December 2018. Last week, the I-Team uncovered an employee at Taco Bell on 40976 U.S. Highway 19 North in Tarpon Springs tested positive for Hepatitis A, according to an email sent by the Pinellas County Health Department to the state.
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A corporate spokesperson for Taco Bell released the following emailed statement:
“We can confirm that the operator of this Largo, FL location learned that one of the team members had been diagnosed on December 6, 2018. The franchisee started working with Taco Bell and health officials immediately, following the lead of the Pinellas County Health department. The restaurant was thoroughly sanitized and all team members were vaccinated at that time.”
Earlier Monday, the I-Team uncovered a food handler at Ulele on along Tampa's Riverwalk tested positive for Hepatitis A in February, according to state records. On the same day, the I-Team also uncovered that Jimmy's Fish House on Clearwater Beach had a worker with a confirmed case of Hepatitis A in March, while Tony's Pizzeria in Clearwater had a worker test positive in November 2018.
The I-Team asked Pinellas County Health Director Dr. Ulyee Choe why customers aren’t always alerted.
“We follow CDC protocols and it's always recommended that coworkers get vaccinated," Choe told ABC Action News earlier Monday. “Again, we only make that public notification when it is a health threat.”
Choe said his department inspects these restaurants with state inspectors to look at hand washing practices and sanitary conditions before he decides which businesses to name and release to the public.
“If it rises to the level and deemed a public health risk, that's when we make a public notification,” Choe told ABC Action News earlier Monday.
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 to under insured people. 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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