It can be pretty alarming to find out that a place you frequent, whether it's a school or a workplace, has had an outbreak of any sort of illness or contagious infection. Things are taken to a new level, however, when the site of the outbreak is somewhere where you purchase food and drink. With far more avenues for the infection to potentially spread, it's worth being extra careful.
In one recent case in Michigan, customers were put at risk as it turned out one employee had a confirmed case of hepatitis A. The Macomb County Health Department wrote that the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, located in Warren, was inspected on April 17 after the news was revealed to them. Luckily, the outlet has been approved to operate, as it is deemed safe enough for staff and customers - but for those that visited it during a certain period of time, it is suggested that several steps should be taken.
The highly-contagious liver infection can be transmitted via contact with an infected person, which extends beyond physical interactions to include any contact with contaminated food and water. As a result, anyone who visited this location between the dates March 24 and April 9 may be at risk.
Symptoms normally develop between fifteen and fifty days after exposure and can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, clay-colored bowel movements, a loss of appetite, fever, dark urine, and jaundice. If any of these issues are discovered, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
In addition to this, the health department suggests that anyone who visited the location during this period make sure to get a hepatitis A vaccination if they haven't already been vaccinated. This would prohibit it from spreading, as long as the vaccination was received within 14 days of the initial exposure.
A spokesperson for Buffalo Wild Wings said, in a statement made to The Daily Meal:
"DRH, a Buffalo Wild Wings franchise, learned that an employee isolated to the 29287 Mound Road location in Warren, Michigan became ill with Hepatitis A contracted from an outside source. We take food safety very seriously and immediately closed the restaurant and instituted a standard sanitization process. The restaurant reopened yesterday afternoon after receiving a clean bill of health from the Health Department inspector."
800 cases of hepatitis A have been reported in Michigan since August 2016, and there are active outbreaks in other states too. One case, in Kentucky, may have involved workers at Kroger and Waffle House, showing that this week's incident isn't alone.
Nearly 150 people were diagnosed with the infection, and health officials confirmed that one died due to this outbreak. Food Safety News reported that the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department warned of possible exposure via a Waffle House location after one staffer who worked at two locations in Boyd County tested positive for the infection. Waffle House was sure to point out that no one had officially been found to have contracted the illness from a Waffle House location.