Hamburger Mary's worker tests positive for Hepatitis A; customers urged to get vaccinated

Posted at 2:43 PM, Oct 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 17:40:40-04

TAMPA, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County says they've identified a positive case of Hepatitis A in a person who worked at Hamburger Mary's Bar and Grill in Ybor. 

Officials say the person worked at the restaurant October 4 through October 20. They say anyone who frequented the restaurant during that time who hasn't been vaccinated for Hepatitis A should get the vaccine. If you have had the vaccine, you don't need to take any action. 

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Hepatitis A on the rise in Pinellas County, Department of Health warns

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis virus. The best way to prevent it is to receive the vaccine.



Officials say the following people should be vaccinated: 

  • 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

The DOH Hillsborough is offering the Hep A vaccine at its Sulphur Springs location at 8605 Mitchell Ave.

Officials are extending their hours of operation for anyone who needs the vaccine. The clinic will be open Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. Their normal hours of operation, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., will resume on Monday. 

A 24-hour hotline has been set up for anyone with questions about Hepatitis A at 813-307-8004. 



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.