Nurses stress importance of washing hands to avoid Hepatitis A

CATOOSA COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF) — After two different hepatitis A cases in the Tennessee Valley, nurses are urging restaurant employees to wash their hands and be careful when dealing with food.

Inside the Catoosa County Health Department, they are busing with their hepatitis A clinic. They are offering the vaccine after a worker at the McDonald’s on Lafayette Road in Chickamauga was diagnosed with the virus.

On Wednesday,  health officials announced they are extending the risk period of hepatitis transmission from March 4th through March 29.

This isn’t the only recent case in the area. A couple of weeks ago, an employee at the Western Sizzlin in Ooltewah got it.

“I think it was probably just a matter of time. I would like, last summer we would have liked to, thought we would be over the worst of this by now and it is really hard to say that it is,” said Connie Beucker, with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department.

Beucker urges food service workers to wash their hands.

“The problem with hepatitis A is you can be infectious for two weeks prior to you even having symptoms, so you don’t even know, but by the time you start feeling bad and a lot of people think they are being the good employee when they come to work and are not feeling well, it is not a good idea in this case,” Beucker said.

Symptoms of hepatitis a include abdominal pain and vomiting.

“If you get any of those symptoms go seek some medical care. There is no cure. There is supportive treatment, but at least you know what you are dealing with and you can stay away from people that might be vulnerable to this infection,” Beucker said.

In Catoosa and Walker County, the clinic will continue at their health departments from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m on Friday. Next week they will offer vaccines during regular business hours.

For information about hepatitis A vaccines in Hamilton County, click here.

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