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Hepatitis A Outbreak Traced To NC Hardee's: People Who Dined There Are Urged To Get Vaccinated

Jun 29, 2018 08:10 PM EDT
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An employee of a Hardee's branch in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina is identified as the source of the recent hepatitis A outbreak in the state. Diners of the restaurant are now encouraged to seek vaccination.
(Photo : Pixabay)

The ground zero for the recent outbreak of hepatitis A in North Carolina is apparently fast-food restaurant Hardee's.

Thousands of people who ate at the dining establishment are now set for a vaccination in hopes of avoiding getting afflicted with the liver disease.

Health Officials Urge Vaccinations

WSOC reported that health officials traced the source of the outbreak, discovering it to be an employee of the dining establishment. People who dined at the Hardee's branch along Little Rock Road in Charlotte, North Caroline from June 13 to June 23 are now being urged to get a vaccination for hepatitis A as soon as possible.

During this 10-day period, around 4,000 people ate at that specific restaurant. The dates coincide with the time frame of American Airline's technical glitches, so thousands of people were stranded in Charlotte at the time.

On Thursday, June 28, 1,400 people already received their vaccinations in response to the announcement. Health officials say that vaccination needs to occur within 14 days after the exposure.

Vaccinations For Food Service Industry

With this outbreak, there are those who say Mecklenburg County needs to make sure that employees in the food industry are vaccinated for the disease, according to Charlotte Observer.

State law keeps the county from requiring a vaccination from employees. Since one of the main issues is the steep cost of getting vaccinated, one solution that's been suggested is offering free or discounted vaccinations to people who work with food.

"They need to rethink whether they want this thing to pop up again," Bill Marler, a Seattle-based attorney specializing in food illness cases, points out to Charlotte Observer. "It will happen again. It's Hardee's today. It will pick your restaurant tomorrow. Offering these vaccinations at discount rates makes sense."

Vaccination costs $62.83. A fast-food employee working for $7.25 an hour would give up a whole day's salary to pay for it.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a communicable disease of the liver that's caused by the hepatitis A virus. CDC says that it usually spreads when a person ingests the virus from contaminated food, drinks, or objects.

Most of the people who catch the disease recover within several weeks with no lasting damage to their liver. However, there are rare cases wherein hepatitis A results in liver failure and death. These severe cases often occur in older people or those who are already sick with other liver diseases.

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