Whitey's patrons who consumed any of these items between the dates of July 2 through and including July 13 should arrange to receive either Hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin immediately. It is too late for those exposed before July 2 to obtain any benefit from an injection.
According to the state's news release, the Des Moines County Health Department will hold a walk-in clinic to administer Hepatitis A vaccine at the following location and times:
Des Moines County Health Department
522 North 3rd Street
- Wednesday, July 16 - 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Thursday, July 17 - 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Friday, July 18 - 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
While infrequent, restaurant-associated warnings and outbreaks of hepatitis A pop up from time to time. This year has seen several, including:
- Chipotle Mexican Grill, La Mesa, CA: 22 cases
- International House of Pancakes, Albuquerque, NM: 4 cases
- Socialista, New York, NY: as many as 1,000 patrons warned
From an economic perspective, mandatory vaccination does not appear to make sense. A 2001 study carried out by CDC concluded that,
"Vaccinating restaurant employees is unlikely to be economical from either the restaurant owner or the societal perspective, even during hepatitis A epidemics."As I reported in an earlier hepatitis post, roughly one-third of the US population already carries immunity to Hepatitis A virus, and CDC recommends that all children be vaccinated against Hepatitis A before their first birthday.
Economics isn't everything, though there's no point in mandating that someone who is already immune to the virus be vaccinated as a condition of employment.
But why not require all food service workers to demonstrate either proof of immunity to Hepatitis A or proof of vaccination before they are permitted to handle food or come into contact with restaurant patrons?