The Gwinnett County Health Department is warning customers of a Wendy’s restaurant to get checked for hepatitis A after an employee was diagnosed with the infection, Channel 2 Action News reported.
Investigators said anyone who ate at the Lawrenceville location at 165 Scenic Highway between June 13 and June 29 might have been exposed. An employee who worked as a food handler while ill “may have been able to spread hepatitis A to others,” health department spokesman Chad Wasdin told Channel 2. The news station reported the employee is temporarily off the job.
Hepatitis A, a viral infection of the liver, can be contracted from contaminated food or water, or from contact with an infected person. The virus spreads when an infected person does not wash his or her hands adequately after using the bathroom, health officials said.
“It is relatively rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, but anyone who consumed food or drink at the Wendy’s ... should contact their healthcare provider or their local health department to determine if a hepatitis A immunization is needed to prevent the disease,” Wasdin said.
Meritage Hospitality Group, the franchise organization that operates the Lawrenceville Wendy’s, said it takes the health and safety “of our customers and team members very seriously, and we have stringent procedures in place to ensure safe, sanitary and well-maintained restaurants.”
No additional illnesses have been reported, the franchise said.
Wasdin said hepatitis A immunization is available at Gwinnett County Health Department locations with no out-of-pocket cost, regardless of insurance status.
The Gwinnett hepatitis case comes soon after a restaurant employee in Bartow County was confirmed to have the infection. A worker at the Willy’s Mexicana Grill at 100 Main Street handled food while infectious with the virus for more than two weeks earlier this month, according to the Bartow County Health Department, AJC.com previously reported.
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