BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – More than 900 people took the warning from the Monroe County Health Department to get vaccinated for hepatitis A after an employee at Buffalo Wild Wings in Bloomington was diagnosed with the virus earlier this month. The restaurant is located at 1350 W. Bloomfield Road.
For three days, the health department opened its doors and allowed customers of the restaurant to come get a vaccination. The department said people who ate at the restaurant between January 2 and January 6 could've been exposed to it.
"It’s very difficult to estimate how many people will really come out to follow up and what the numbers are to be. We’re very pleased with that turnout I think it is among the largest responses that state as seen at clinics like this," said Monroe County Health Department Administrator Penny Caudill.
Caudill said hepatitis A is more common than people think. The national outbreak has been going on for more than a year.
Since November 2017, the Indiana State Health Department has had 896 outbreak cases, 441 hospitalizations, and two deaths because of hepatitis A.
"The state normally would see like less than 20, so yes it’s been a huge increase. It’s part of that national outbreak," Caudill said.
The virus is preventable though a vaccination.
"The series is two shots, six months apart but with the first dose of vaccine it is estimated that you get 95% of effectiveness,” said Caudill. “This is a very effective vaccine."
Caudill thinks about 30 percent of the customers impacted came in to receive the vaccination. Some could’ve seen their own personal doctors.
Buffalo Wild Wings sent FOX59 this statement:
"The Renfro Group, a Buffalo Wild Wings franchise has learned that an employee at their Bloomington, IN location has become ill with Hepatitis A. We take food safety very seriously and immediately contacted the Monroe County Health Department. The restaurant was closed on the afternoon of January 9 and we instituted a deep cleaning process of the entire restaurant. The restaurant is now open after receiving a clean bill of health from the Health Department inspector.
Additionally, due to possible exposure, the health department is offering free vaccines to all Team Members and Guests who may have been exposed during the dates of 1/2/19 through 1/6/19. It is recommended that vaccines be issued within two weeks of exposure. For more information about obtaining a vaccine, please contact the Monroe County Health Department.
We will continue to work with local health officials to ensure a clean and safe environment for our Guests and Team Members."