North Carolina donut shop, Dixie Donuts, has been named in a hepatitis A warning. The implicated Dixie Donuts is located on N.C. 268 West.
The Wilkes County Health Department is investigating a confirmed case of hepatitis A at the shop, said The Journal Patriot. “County health officials are advising people who may have consumed food or drinks from Dixie Donuts that they might have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus and are being asked to contact the Wilkes County Health Department for a vaccine or shot that could prevent them from getting sick,” a press release issued by the department stated. The health department is conducting a walk-in clinic for the hepatitis vaccine from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. today and from 9:00 a.m. to noon tomorrow, at the Health Department’s Wilkesboro location.
According to the Health Department, it learned that a Dixie donuts employee was diagnosed with hepatitis A on May 13th, said spokeswoman, Debbie Nicholson, Health Department director of nursing, wrote The Journal Patriot. Nicholson stated that the Health Department learned about the hepatitis A diagnosis after a communicable disease nurse there checked North Carolina’s online Electronic Disease Surveillance System. The department is required to check the system daily, said Nicholson, wrote The Journal Patriot.
The diagnosed Dixie Donuts employee is not working at the shop and is not allowed back until he/she is no longer contagious, said Nicholson, who also said that the diagnosis does not, otherwise, affect Dixie Donut’s food safety, according to The Journal Patriot. According to Lee Lassiter, Dixie Donuts owner, the employee was a trainee who only worked a the shop for a short time. “We have been in business for over a year and have had no issues with food handling from any agency,” Lassiter added. Earlier this year, Dixie Donuts was named the Wilkes Chamber of Commerce’s “Small Business of the Year.” County health officials advise people who purchased food during the following times at Dixie Donuts to contact the department: May 8 and 9 from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; May 10 and 12 from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
“Those potentially exposed could experience symptoms as early as May 22 and as late as June 23. Those who have had a hepatitis A infection or hepatitis A vaccine are protected from the virus and do not need to take additional actions,” according to the press release, said the Journal Patriot.
As we’ve previously written, individuals exposed to hepatitis A should receive an immune globulin (IG) or a hepatitis A vaccination within two weeks of exposure to the virus. Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus, which may be spread by consuming food or drink handled by an infected person or from person to person by putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool of a person with hepatitis A. Casual contact does not spread the virus and contact with even a very tiny amount of infected fecal matter is sufficient to pass the virus.
Symptoms range from mild to severe and include an abrupt onset of fever, fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, stomach pain, dark-colored urine, and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). The disease is rarely fatal and most recover in a few weeks with no complications. Symptoms typically appear within 28 days of exposure, with a range of 15-50 days. There are no special medicines or antibiotics that treat a person once symptoms appear; bed rest is typically sufficient.
Thorough hand washing after bathroom use and before, during, and after food preparation is the best way in which to prevent the spread of hepatitis A and other intestinal illnesses. Thorough hand washing of the entire hand, including the wrist, between the fingers, and under the fingernails is suggested for no less than 20 seconds. Sharing food and utensils is discouraged, especially when anyone is ill. Reports estimate that for every five people sickened with hepatitis A, one will be hospitalized.
Some people—for instance, children, may not develop jaundice. The illness may be mild in these people; however, those who are mildly ill can be very infectious. Also, those with pre-existing liver problems can become seriously ill if they contract hepatitis A, said The Journal Patriot.