Hep A at Red Feather?

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This just in from the Central District Health Department: If you've eaten at Red Feather Lounge between March 5 and March 17, check your health. The restaurant was flagged for possible contamination with Hepatitis A.

Here's the text of the news release from the Central District Health Department. They say an employee there has been confirmed to have had the disease.

Patrons of the Red Feather Lounge, 246 N 8th Street, in Boise may have been exposed to Hepatitis A on eleven days between March 5th and the 17th because an employee there has been confirmed as having the disease.  While the risk to public health is low, there is the possibility that Red Feather patrons could have been exposed to hepatitis A.  Currently there is no evidence of a hepatitis A outbreak associated with the Red Feather.  Central District Health and Southwest District Health are recommending that those persons who are not immune to hepatitis A and have had food or drink at the Red Feather between March 12th and the 17th, receive hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (IG) immediately.  Immunity comes from having a hepatitis A vaccination or from having had the disease.  In addition, anyone who has had food or drink at the Red Feather on March 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17 should contact their medical provider if they are exhibiting any symptoms of hepatitis.     

        Both Central District Health and Southwest District Health will have hepatitis A vaccine and immune globulin (IG) available on a limited basis.  Call Central District Health at 327-7450 or Southwest District Health at 455-5300 to make an appointment.           

  Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A can affect anyone. Hepatitis A virus is usually spread by eating or drinking food items that have been contaminated with hepatitis A from someone who hasn’t properly washed their hands after using the bathroom. 

Symptoms usually occur abruptly and may include:

Fever

Loss of appetite

Abdominal discomfort

Jaundice (yellowing of the skin & eyes)

Tiredness

Nausea

Dark urine                 

        The Red Feather Lounge has cooperated fully with the investigation into the situation.  The employee is believed to have practiced good hand hygiene but could have contaminated food and drinks at the restaurant.  The risk of exposure is considered small, but not zero.  A routine inspection of the restaurant in December 2007 recorded no violations related to handwashing or employee illnesses.               

     If you have had a hepatitis A vaccine or have had the illness in the past, you are protected from hepatitis A infection. 

If you had food or drink at the Red Feather on March 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17, you can benefit from the vaccine, which is very effective in preventing illness.  The vaccine is recommended for children and adults from the ages of 12 months to 40 years of age who are not pregnant, immune-compromised or have chronic liver disease.

If you are over 40 years of age, pregnant, immune-compromised, have chronic liver disease or are an infant under 12 months of age, and ate or drank at Red Feather March 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17, immune globulin (IG) is available for prevention of infections.

Because neither the hepatitis A vaccine, nor the immune globulin will protect you if you ate or drank at Red Feather before March 12th you should watch for symptoms of hepatitis A.  If you experience symptoms, please contact your medical provider. 

            Good personal hygiene and proper sanitation can help prevent hepatitis A.  Outbreaks of hepatitis A are relatively uncommon in the United States; however, when they occur, public health efforts are required to control the spread of the disease.         

    For more information on hepatitis A please visit the Central District Health Department website: www.cdhd.idaho.gov.

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