ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — A food service worker at a popular St. Pete Beach restaurant has tested positive for Hepatitis A.
Health officials say the patient worked at Toasted Monkey, a beach bar and grill on Gulf Boulevard.
The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County said if people visited the restaurant between Oct. 17 and 28 and have not already been vaccinated for the virus, they should consider getting vaccinated or being given immune globulin.
This marks the second such incident in the last two weeks in Tampa Bay. Last month, an employee at the Hamburger Mary’s restaurant in Ybor City tested positive for Hepatitis A.
The free vaccine is being offered at the following locations:
- St. Petersburg: 205 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N
- Pinellas Park: 6350 76th Ave. N
- Mid-County (Largo): 8751 Ulmerton Road
- Clearwater: 310 N. Myrtle Ave.
- Tarpon Springs: 301 S. Disston Ave.
People who have questions about Hepatitis A can call 727-824-6932.
Following the positive test at Hamburger Mary's, the health department in Hillsborough County administered 620 free hepatitis A vaccines to patrons of the restaurant.
It takes about 28 days after one is exposed to Hepatitis A to develop symptoms. People have a better chance of defeating the virus if they act quickly after possible exposure, health officials say.
There is no immediate action necessary if someone already has been vaccinated.
Hepatitis A is a highly-contagious virus that attacks the liver. Symptoms may include yellowing of the skin and eyes, fever, diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, stomach pain, dark-colored urine or pale stool.
If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately seek medical attention. Most people recover over time, but some need to be hospitalized.
The Florida Department of Health confirms there is no mandated routine testing for food workers—but there are strict standards for hand-washing and glove use.
"I expect for there to be preventative measures so that this sort of thing doesn't happen," said Akeem Thompson.
Longtime Toasted Monkey customers like Lauren Wilson seemed surprised there wasn't more regular oversight of food workers' health.
"I've worked in the food business and I totally think that there should be testing periodically because you never know what can happen," she said.
Even so, she and her husband, who are visiting from Michigan, said they are sticking with one of their favorite spots to eat while on vacation.
"They're doing the right things—they're trying to correct them," said Rick Wilson. "We've been coming here for years… and we're here to support them."
Toasted Monkey management declined to comment.
10News reporter Josh Sidorowicz contributed to this report.
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