August 5, 2000
Potential Hepatitis A Exposure at I-75 Eatery In Cleveland,
Cleveland, TN -- The Bradley County
Health Department has been notified of a case of hepatitis A in a food
service worker who worked until July 31 at a local restaurant. Persons who recently ate at
the Waffle House at Paul Huff Parkway in Cleveland (133 James Asberry Dr. NW) may have
been exposed to hepatitis A if they ate at the restaurant on Friday, July 21 through
Sunday, July 23 or after 9:00 p.m. on Friday, July 28 through Tuesday, August 1. Only
people who visited the restaurant during those times were at risk of exposure.
Because the Waffle House is located off I-75 at Exit 27 and is heavily visited by
interstate travelers, there will be people who live outside the Cleveland area who need to
be treated. The Department of Health is working with the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention to share the information with other states.
"When hepatitis A occurs in a restaurant worker who directly handles food,
precautions must be taken by the health department to protect the public and prevent an
outbreak," said Janet Ridley, nursing director.
Medication called immune globulin (IG) may prevent infection or diminish the severity of
the illness, but only if it is given within two weeks of exposure. Immune globulin will be
available for patrons who ate at the restaurant at the Bradley County Health Department on
Friday, August 4 from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m., Saturday, August 5 from 8:00 a.m.to 8:00 p.m.,
Sunday, August 6th from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., and Monday, August 7th from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00
Individuals potentially exposed on July 21st must receive IG on August 4th in order for
the medication to be potentially effective; those exposed July 22nd must receive IG by
Saturday, August 5. The medication is free of charge. Several basic questions about health
status will be asked before the injection is administered. People who may have been
exposed and live outside the Cleveland area should contact their local county health
department to inquire about treatment options.
Hepatitis A is a virus that is spread person-to-person by close personal contact, or by
contaminated food handled by persons who have not adequately washed their hands after
using the toilet or changing diapers. Hepatitis A usually causes loss of appetite, nausea,
vomiting, diarrhea and jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin) two to six weeks after
exposure. Mild illnesses last from one to two weeks, but recovery can take several months
in severe cases. Anyone with symptoms of hepatitis A should see a physician.
Those who were potentially exposed should be particularly thorough in hand washing after
toilet use and prior to food preparation to avoid any further potential spread of disease.
Hand washing should include vigorous soaping of the hands, including the back of the
hands, wrists, between fingers and under fingernails. The hands should then be thoroughly
rinsed with running water and dried with a disposable towel.
The Bradley County Health Department is located at 201 Dooley St, S.E. Anyone who has
questions can call the health department at (423) 476-0568.
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