In our daily research, we’re coming across more and more cases of Hepatitis A resulting from the consumption of items prepared by infected food service workers. Food safety manager must be on the lookout to prevent food-borne illness from every hazard, and preventing Hepatitis A infections creates some unique challenges.
Should Food Safety Managers Require Hepatitis A Vaccinations?
Symptoms of Hepatitis A may take up to two months to manifest making it difficult to know exactly when and where outbreaks initially begin. Some of the symptoms of this disease that affect the liver include:
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
Health officials recommend that anyone who comes into contact with the Hepatitis A virus be vaccinated within 14 days of exposure.
Two of the major hotspots for Hepatitis outbreaks in the United States include Kentucky and fellow Midwestern state Michigan. In fact, outbreaks in these two states have prompted officials in the state of Indiana to strongly urge residents to be vaccinated before visiting.
Being vaccinated whether or not you’ve come into contact with the virus can be an effective way to protect your product from contamination by a sick staff member. A few major chains, including McDonalds, are jumping on board with vaccination as prevention by voluntarily vaccinating their employees against the virus, specifically in hotbed states such as Michigan and Kentucky.
In a recent state-by-state survey of Hepatitis A cases this, Minnesota reports that cases are within traditional ranges so far in 2018, and none have been traced back to the food service industry. However, with cases in other states on the rise, food safety managers should still be aware of the risks of this virus.
Do you feel food service workers should receive a Hepatitis A vaccination, or should it be left to a case-by-case basis?