BLOOMINGTON, Ind.– Anyone who ate at the Buffalo Wild Wings on Bloomfield Road in Bloomington is being urged to get a hepatitis A vaccine.
The Monroe County Health Department and the Monroe County Public Health Clinic are holding vaccination clinics for those who ate at the restaurant, located at 1350 W. Bloomfield Road, between Jan. 2 -6.
An employee of the restaurant who handled food was diagnosed with the virus. Officials found the employee was working while infected during that window.
“While it is relatively rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, anyone who consumed food or drink at Buffalo Wild Wings in Bloomington during these dates is recommended to receive a hepatitis A vaccination within 14 days of exposure as further protection from becoming ill,” the health department said in a statement. “Buffalo Wild Wings is working closely with health officials to prevent any new cases from arising as a result of this case and the restaurant is open for business.”
Officials say the restaurant was disinfected and has reopened.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown colored urine, and light colored stools. Yellowing of the skin or eyes may also appear. People can become ill up to seven weeks after being exposed to the virus.
Anyone who ate or drank at the restaurant during the time in question should:
- Monitor their health for symptoms of hepatitis A infection up to 50 days after exposure.
- Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
- Stay at home and contact their healthcare provider immediately if symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop.
Vaccinations include a series of two injections that are six months apart, however even one hepatitis A injection can provide up to 95 percent protection from the disease, according to the health department.
Vaccination clinics are scheduled at the Monroe County Public Health Clinic, 333 E. Miller Drive in Bloomington. The vaccine must be administered within two weeks after the last day of exposure. Here’s when they’ll be taking place:
- Friday, Jan. 11 (for Buffalo Wild Wings staff) – Call 812-353-3244 for appointment.
- Monday, Jan. 14 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Tuesday, Jan. 15 from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, Jan. 16 from 8:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Anyone who may have been infected who cannot make one of those times should contact their personal doctor.
Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. The virus spreads when an infected person does not wash his/her hands adequately after using the toilet or engages in behaviors that increase risk of infection.
Indiana is one of several states currently experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak. Based on CDC guidelines for the current hepatitis A outbreak, populations who are homeless, transient, incarcerated or use illicit drugs and their close direct contacts are considered at increased risk of exposure to hepatitis A.
The CDC recommends hepatitis A vaccinations for the following groups:
- All children at age 1 year
- People who are at increased risk for infection:
- Travelers to countries that have high rates of hepatitis A
- Family members and caregivers of recent adoptees from countries where hepatitis A is common
- Men who have sexual contact with other men
- People who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs
- People who work with hepatitis A infected animals or in a hepatitis A research laboratory
- People with chronic (lifelong) liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C
- People who are treated with clotting-factor concentrates
Anyone with questions is asked to call a hotline set up by the health department at 812-349-2997.