Certain Tim Hortons patrons should seek Hepatitis A treatment

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Another restaurant worker in Michigan has tested positive for hepatitis A, this time at a Tim Hortons location in Monroe, igniting another round of recommendations from public health officials that restaurant patrons seek post-exposure treatment immediately.

The post-exposure treatment for the highly contagious virus must be given within two weeks of exposure, otherwise it is not effective.

Monroe County Health Department (MCHD) officials reported the infected employee works at Tim Hortons, 404 S. Monroe St. Anyone who consumed food or drink from the restaurant between Nov. 21 and Dec. 8 may have been exposed.

“MCHD is working closely with the restaurant to vaccinate all employees and to eliminate any additional risk of exposure,” according to a news release. The restaurant is cooperating with health officials. The infected employee is not currently working and is receiving medical treatment.

It is important for people to obtain the post-exposure treatment even if they are not exhibiting any symptoms. It usually takes two to six weeks for symptoms to develop, which is too long after exposure for the vaccine to prevent infection from developing.

Symptoms can include fatigue, poor appetite, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, and jaundice, according to the health department.

The Tim Hortons employee is the most recent foodservice worker to be reported with the virus, which has hit Southeast Michigan particularly hard. The state is one of several in the midst of an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak that has sickened more than 1,300 people.

In Michigan, 583 victims had been confirmed as of Thursday. Twenty of them have died. Many of the victims have been homeless people and substance abusers, but about a third are in neither of those groups.

Some public health agencies in Michigan are encouraging all foodservice employees who have not been vaccinated against the virus to seek hepatitis A vaccinations now. A number of free and reduced-cost vaccination clinics are available around the state.

 

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