The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County says they have identified a positive case of Hepatitis A in a person who worked at The Toasted Monkey bar and grill in St. Pete Beach.
Officials say the person worked at the restaurant, located at 6110 Gulf Boulevard, between October 17 and October 28, 2018. They say anyone who frequented this restaurant during that time, who has not been vaccinated for Hepatitis A, should get the vaccine as soon as possible. If you have received the vaccine, you don't need to take any action.
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Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis virus. The best way to prevent it is to receive the vaccine.
The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County is offering the vaccine at the following locations:
- St. Petersburg: 205 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N
- Pinellas Park: 6350 76th Ave. N
- Mid-County (Largo): 8751 Ulmerton Rd
- Clearwater: 310 N. Myrtle Ave
- Tarpon Springs: 301 S. Disston Ave
A 24-hour hotline has been set up for people who have questions about Hepatitis A. If you have questions, call 727-824-6932.
Tourists who recently ate at the restaurant said the news was unsettling.
"It's certainly upsetting for tourists I'm going to spread the word," said tourist Yvette Morris.
FROM THE CDC:
What is hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.
What is the difference between hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C?
Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are liver infections caused by three different viruses. Although each can cause similar symptoms, they have different modes of transmission and can affect the liver differently. Hepatitis A is usually a short-term infection and does not become chronic. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can also begin as short-term, acute infections, but in some people, the virus remains in the body, resulting in chronic disease and long-term liver problems. There are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B; however, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
The page “What is hepatitis?” provides more information about the differences between hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
How serious is hepatitis A?
Most people who get hepatitis A feel sick for several weeks, but they usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. In rare cases, hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death; this is more common in people older than 50 and in people with other liver diseases.
How common is hepatitis A in the United States?
In 2016, there were an estimated 4,000 hepatitis A cases in the United States. Hepatitis A rates have declined by more than 95% since the hepatitis A vaccine first became available in 1995.
Transmission / Exposure
How is hepatitis A spread?
Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. Hepatitis A can also spread from close personal contact with an infected person such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill.
Contamination of food (this can include frozen and undercooked food) by hepatitis A can happen at any point: growing, harvesting, processing, handling, and even after cooking. Contamination of food or water is more likely to occur in countries where hepatitis A is common and in areas where there are poor sanitary conditions or poor personal hygiene. In the United States, chlorination of water kills hepatitis A virus that enters the water supply. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) routinely monitors natural bodies of water used for recreation for fecal contamination so there is no need for monitoring for hepatitis A virus specifically.