SDHU confirms case of hepatitis a at local restaurant

Health unit offering free vaccinations to anyone affected

The Sudbury & District Health Unit is advising anyone who ate at Casey’s Bar & Grill located at 1070 Kingsway Boulevard in Sudbury, Ontario, between January 15, 2015 and January 20, 2015 to get a hepatitis A vaccination as soon as possible.

The Health Unit will be holding free hepatitis A vaccine clinics for anyone who ate at Casey’s Bar & Grill during this time period.

“Anyone who ate at this restaurant between January 15, 2015 and January 20, 2015, is strongly encouraged to receive their vaccination as soon as possible”, said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health for the Sudbury & District Health Unit. “It is within those key dates that the vaccine will be most effective in preventing disease in anyone exposed.”

An employee of the restaurant is a confirmed case of hepatitis A and anyone who ate at the restaurant between January 1, 2015 and January 20, 2015 could also be at risk of infection.

Further, the Health Unit is asking anyone who dined at the restaurant between January 1, 2015 and January 20, 2015 to monitor for signs and symptoms, practice thorough hand washing and contact their health care provider if concerned.

“The restaurant has cooperated fully with the investigation”, notes Sutcliffe.

Free drop-in vaccination clinics will be held at the Health Unit office located at 1300 Paris Street, Sudbury. No appointment required.

The clinic times are:

  • Friday, January 30, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 31, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, February 1, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Monday, February 2, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Vaccine is also available through Health Unit offices located in Espanola, Mindemoya and Chapleau or by contacting your health care provider.

Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause a liver infection. Symptoms can last a few days to several months. The virus is rarely fatal and most people develop lifetime immunity following infection. Hepatitis A can be serious, however, especially for older people and those with chronic liver disease. For these individuals, there is a greater risk of hospitalization and death.

Symptoms can begin 15-50 days after becoming infected. It is also possible to be infected and not have any symptoms. For symptomatic individuals, the severity of symptoms can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms of hepatitis A include:

  • fever
  • stomach pain or discomfort
  • dark urine
  • nausea and vomiting
  • tiredness
  • loss of appetite
  • clay or ash-coloured bowel movements
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

This virus is transmitted from person-to-person by the fecal-oral route. It is found in feces of a person infected with the virus and one common route of exposure is food contaminated by infected food handlers. This can occur by directly handling already cooked or ready-to-eat foods with unclean bare hands or through food contact with dirty gloves.

Hepatitis A can be avoided by:

  • Not handling or preparing food for anyone if you are ill.
  • Washing your hands often and thoroughly using soap and water. This is especially important after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing or eating food.
  • If wearing gloves, change them often. Gloves cannot be washed and reused.
  • Avoid sharing common items such as cups and finger foods (for example popcorn).
  • Always wash fresh fruits and vegetables such as strawberries and lettuce.

If you are concerned that you may have acquired hepatitis A or have questions about getting the vaccine, contact the Health Unit at 705.522.9200, ext. 1040 or toll free at 1.800.522.9200, or speak with your primary care provider as soon as possible.