The Mecklenburg County Health Department, along with its partners at the Cabarrus Health Alliance, continues to respond to the possible exposure of hundreds of people who ate food from Papa John’s Pizza, 8016 Cambridge Commons Drive in Charlotte.
If you ate food from this restaurant between March 28 and April 7, 2014, you should get a hepatitis vaccination. The vaccine is effective if you were exposed within the last 14 days and could prevent you from getting sick.
The Health Department will hold public hepatitis A vaccination clinics on Saturday, April 12 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Sunday, April 13 from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. at Central Piedmont Community College Cato Campus at 8210 Grier Road. The clinic will be held in the Cato 2 Building.
The Health Department location at 2845 Beatties Ford Road will operate extended hours on Monday, April 14 to accommodate walk-in customers. The location will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
To help expedite the process at the vaccination site, please go to www.meckhealth.org
or for Cabarrus residents, www.cabarrushealth.org
to download and complete the encounter form and bring it with you.
If you ate food from this location March 24-28, the vaccination would no longer be effective. In this case, you should be aware of the symptoms and notify your physician if you see them.
It’s extremely important to note that those who ate at this restaurant on March 29 and 30th need to receive their vaccination as soon as possible as the time for the vaccine to be effective runs out after Saturday, April 12 for the 3/29 group and April 13 for the 3/30 group.
Those who have had a hepatitis A infection or hepatitis A vaccine are protected from the virus and do not need to take additional actions. Most children receive hepatitis A as part of the recommended vaccine series.
Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis vaccine is very effective in reducing the risk of the disease when administered within 14 days of the last day of exposure.
Hepatitis A is usually spread by eating or drinking items that have been contaminated with the virus or by close personal contact with an infected person. Symptoms appear 2-7 weeks after exposure and commonly include fever, a feeling of being unwell, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal discomfort; urine may become darker in color and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes) may appear. If you have these symptoms you should seek medical care.
Some individuals, especially children, may not develop jaundice, and may have an illness so mild that it could go unnoticed. However, even mildly ill persons can still be highly infectious. While it can be avoided if the vaccine is given within two weeks of exposure, there is no specific treatment once a person has hepatitis A. Most people recover without complications after several weeks. People who have pre-existing liver problems can be extremely ill if they contract hepatitis A. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should see their doctor.
Careful hand washing is key to preventing the spread of hepatitis A and should include vigorous washing of hands with soap and running water for a minimum of 20 seconds. All surfaces should be washed including the back of the hands, wrists, between fingers and under fingernails. This is especially important after using the washroom and before handling food. Anyone who may have been exposed is strongly encouraged to follow this practice to reduce the risk of spreading illness to others.
Erin Shoe with Cabarrus Health at 704-467-1950