Hepatitis A reported in Southfield restaurant employee

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published December 5, 2017

Officials at the Oakland County Health Division are looking into a case of hepatitis A in a local restaurant employee. 

According to a Dec. 5 news release from the health division, an employee of Papa Romano’s, 23926 W. Nine Mile Road, near Telegraph, has a confirmed case of hepatitis A. 

Officials at the Oakland County Health Division advise all restaurant staff and guests who consumed food from the restaurant between Nov. 22 and Nov. 26 to get a hepatitis A vaccine if they have not been vaccinated. Staff and patrons are also asked to contact a doctor if they have any sudden onset of symptoms. 

Symptoms of hepatitis A can include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, clay-colored stool, fever, chills and jaundice. Symptoms occur between 15 and 50 days after exposure and can last for several weeks to month. 

According to the health department, hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease. If given within 14 days of exposure, the hepatitis A vaccine or immunoglobulin can prevent illness.

Oakland County Health Officer Leigh-Anne Stafford said hepatitis A has been an ongoing problem locally. 

“Vaccination can prevent the disease if given within 14 days after potential exposure,” Stafford said in a news release. “Southeast Michigan is experiencing a serious hepatitis A outbreak. All residents are urged to get vaccinated, especially food handlers and health care providers, and to wash hands thoroughly.”

Monica Mansour, owner of the Nine Mile Papa Romanos, said the restaurant remains open and has been working with the Oakland County Health Division. 

“We’re being cooperative with the health department, and all employees have been vaccinated,” Mansour said. “The employee is not working at this time.”

The best ways to prevent the spread of hepatitis A are to always wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, and to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water during food preparation and before eating food.

Health officials also recommend avoiding undercooked or raw shellfish, and a person should not prepare food for others if the person is ill.   

A vaccine for the infection is available through some health care providers, health division officials said, and many pharmacies. 

The Oakland County Health Division recommends calling ahead to ensure your provider or pharmacy has the vaccine available. 

Vaccines are also available at the Health Division offices in Pontiac, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East; and in Southfield, 27725 Greenfield Road. 

For more information about hepatitis A, visit www.oakgov.com/health. A nurse on call is available at (800) 848-5533 or noc@oakgov.com 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. 

Staff Writer Maria Allard contributed to this report.