|The 10 letter word: Hepatitis A
What the restaurant industry should know about this viral disease
Hepatitis A cannot live outside of a human host. Prevention of contamination relies on good sanitary practices, personal hygiene and effective handwashing.
Hepatitis A is a contagious viral disease that can be transmitted by indirect or direct contamination from infected workers, food handlers or contaminated water. Vaccines can provide immunity against Hepatitis A. While the CDC suggests that vaccination protects against the spread of Hepatitis A virus, widespread vaccination of food handlers has not been recommended to date, mostly because the disease is not common. Vaccination of handlers may be considered as a precautionary measure in areas that experience a Hepatitis A outbreak.
The Hepatitis A virus can be spread up to two weeks before and one week after noticing symptoms.
In food preparation, Hepatitis A is most linked to workers with the virus on their hands.
Symptoms can develop 15-50 days after infection. They include fever, headache, weakness, nausea, jaundice, dark-colored urine and abdominal tenderness
For prevention and response tips, download the Foodservice Hepatitis A Prevention & Response sheet.