Hepatitis A virus identified in a food handler in Montgomery


CONTACT: Burnestine Taylor, M.D.
(334) 206-5325

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), in cooperation with Panera Bread at the local and corporate level, is investigating a hepatitis A case in a foodhandler who worked at Panera Bread while infectious. Individuals who consumed food, whether dine-in, pickup or delivery, from Panera Bread located at 2998 Carter Hill Road in Montgomery, Ala., from January 24 through February 5, 2019, should get hepatitis A vaccine from a healthcare provider if within 14 days of exposure, but no later than February 19, 2019. Montgomery County vaccine providers include Montgomery County Health Department, Walmart, Walgreens, and many other providers, please see our URL at alabamapublichealth.gov/immunization/adult-immunization-providers.html.

Vaccine and proper hand washing are the best prevention measures for not getting hepatitis A disease. After being exposed to someone sick with hepatitis A, symptoms would not appear until 15 to 50 days later or 28 days on average. No one needs to be tested for hepatitis A disease, unless they have hepatitis A symptoms.

While it may be too late for vaccination for some exposed, individuals need to be aware of and watching for symptoms, which may include fever, headache, fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, dark urine or jaundice.

Hepatitis A vaccine has been recommended in the United States since 1996; therefore, children under 18 years of age may have already received the vaccine. Persons at increased risk of infections or those who travel outside of the United States are also recommended to receive the vaccine. Hepatitis A vaccine is safe for pregnant women.

Hepatitis A can spread easily among unvaccinated persons if good hand-washing practices are not observed. ADPH also emphasizes that individuals who are experiencing homelessness, using recreational drugs, sharing drugs or drug paraphernalia, having spent time in jail or prison, or engage in oral and anal sex need to be vaccinated against hepatitis A.

To reduce the risk of hepatitis A disease:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Wash hands after using the bathroom, before preparing or eating meals, and after touching anything unclean.
  • Do not share food, drinks, eating utensils, cigarettes, towels, toothbrushes or drug paraphernalia.
  • Avoid oral and anal sex.

For more information, visit alabamapublichealth.gov/immunization/assets/hepatitisaflyer.pdf or call (334) 206-7990.