Another Restaurant Worker with Hepatitis A Confirmed in Gulfport

There has been another case of hepatitis A involving a Pinellas County restaurant worker.

The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County said the employee works at Gulfport Family Restaurant on 49th Street South.

Residents who dined at the restaurant from June 4-11 and haven’t been vaccinated for hepatitis A should contact their doctor or the health department.

Anyone with specific questions about exposure to hepatitis A at Gulfport Family Restaurant can call (727) 824-6932 to reach the Epidemiology staff.

Hepatitis A is on the rise in Florida counties, and our Hepatitis A Outbreak in Attorneys at Whittel & Melton urge you to get vaccinated and wash your hands. The vaccine and handwashing can stop the spread of this disease. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, as alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not kill hepatitis A germs. Use soap and warm water and wash for at least 20 seconds. You need to wash your hands before you prepare food or work with food that is not already packaged. You need to wash your hands after you use the bathroom, touch people or public surfaces, change a diaper, cough, sneeze or use a tissue, use tobacco, and eat or drink. While it may seem like a no-brainer, these simple tasks can stop these outbreaks from continuously happening.

Since Jan. 2018, 18 Floridians who have contracted the virus have died. The outbreak has been linked to restaurant workers testing positive for the disease.

What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is caused by a contagious virus that infects the liver, and can lead to serious liver problems, hospitalization and death. As we mentioned before, there is a vaccine that prevents the virus.

How does hepatitis A spread?

The virus is spread through the feces of people who have the virus. That is why washing your hands is so important. If a person with the virus doesn’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom, feces can transfer to objects, food, drinks or drugs. When these things are shared, other people can unknowingly swallow the virus. If a person who has the virus comes in close contact with others, like sexual intercourse, the virus can also spread.

People at highest risk are:

  • In direct contact with someone who has hepatitis A
  • Homeless or in unstable housing
  • Injection or non-injection drug users
  • Travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common
  • Household members or caregivers of a recent adoptee from countries where hepatitis A is common

Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)

A person can have hepatitis A for up two weeks without feeling sick, and during that time can spread the virus to others. Symptoms usually start two to six weeks after infection and last less than two months.

From January 1, 2018 through June 15, 2019, 2,109 hepatitis A cases were reported. The number of reported hepatitis A cases more than doubled from 2016 to 2017 and nearly doubled again in 2018 after remaining relatively stable in previous years. The number of case counts in 2019 have already surpassed those in 2018.

Tampa Bay seems to be at the center of the outbreak. Here is a list of restaurants where hepatitis A has been confirmed:

Hillsborough County:

  • Ulele
    1810 N Highland Avenue, Tampa
    Joint investigation: Feb. 6
  • IHOP
    11350 Bloomingdale Avenue, Riverview
    Joint investigation: July 2
  • Hamburger Mary’s
    1800 East 8th Avenue, Tampa
    Joint investigation: Oct. 24
  • Golf Club at Cypress Creek
    1011 Cypress Village Blvd, Sun City Center
    Joint investigation: Nov. 14
  • Sandpiper Grille
    1702 S Pebble Beach Blvd., Sun City Center
    Joint investigation: April 3

Pinellas County:

  • Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill
    1320 Central Ave, St. Petersburg
    Case confirmed to owner on April 15
    Joint investigation: April 18
  • Quaker Steak & Lube
    10400 49th St., Clearwater
    Joint investigation: Aug. 31
  • Treasure Island Bar
    245 108 Ave., Treasure Island
    Case confirmed in bartender
    Joint investigation: Dec. 4
  • Subway
    31087 Cortez Blvd.
    Joint investigation: March 22
  • Toasted Monkey
    6110 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach
    Case confirmed in line cook
    Joint investigation: Nov. 2
  • Tony’s Pizzeria
    422 Cleveland Street
    Joint investigation: Nov. 29
  • Taco Bell
    8671 Ulmerton Rd, Largo
    Joint investigation: Dec. 5
  • Taco Bell
    40976 N US Hwy 19, Tarpon Springs
    Infectious period: April 12 – April 14
  • Pollo Tropical
    2140 Gulf To Bay Blvd, Clearwater
    Joint investigation: March 25
  • Jimmy’s Fish House
    521 S Gulfview Blvd, Clearwater Beach
    Joint investigation: April 2

Pasco County:

  • Timber Greens Country Club
    6333 Timber Greens Blvd., New Port Richey
    Joint investigation: Oct. 25
  • Ollies on the Beach
    6438 Clark Street, Hudson
    Joint investigation: Jan. 25
  • Cracker Barrel
    5341 US Hwy 19, New Port Richey
    Joint investigation: Feb. 18
  • Bob Katz Bar and Grill
    12340 US Hwy 19 N, Hudson
    Joint investigation: April 1
  • ICON Gentlemen’s Club
    18728 U.S. Hwy 19, Hudson

Sarasota County:

  • Pizza Burger N Tacos
    1409 Main St, Sarasota
    Joint investigation: Dec. 2018
  • Spring Hill Suites of Sarasota
    1020 University Pkwy, Sarasota
    Joint investigation: Jan. 11

Hernando County:

  • The Grill at Silverhorn Inc.
    4550 Golf Club Lane, Spring Hill
    Patrons may have been exposed between April 12-30

Hepatitis A is serious, and regardless of whether or not you have contracted this illness, you may have a claim for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of income, and other damages. The incubation period for hepatitis A is 2 months, so that is quite a long time to be unsure of whether you are ill, which does give you grounds to sue a negligent restaurant. We can conduct an investigation and identify the responsible party to demand financial compensation from.

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