SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — If you ate at P.F. Chang's in Sarasota between Nov. 6-17, the Department of Health is recommending you get vaccinated for hepatitis A.
According to DOH-Sarasota, an employee at the restaurant on 766 South Osprey tested positive for the virus. The company set up a toll-free number for people with any questions or concerns: 1-888-719-5059.
According to the health department, the vaccine provides protection against the disease if it’s administered within two weeks after someone is exposed.
The health department says everyone who meets the following criteria should be getting vaccinated:
- All children at the age of 12 months
- People who are experiencing homelessness
- Users of recreational drugs, whether injected or not
- Men who have sexual encounters with other men
- People with direct contact with others who have hepatitis-A
- Travelers to countries where hepatitis-A is common
- People with chronic / long-term liver disease, including hepatitis-B or hepatitis-C
- People with clotting-factor disorders
Hepatitis A attacks the liver, and the health department says symptoms normally begin to appear about a month after someone is exposed. Once they do appear, the disease can’t be cured.
- Jaundice (yellowing skin and whites of eyes)
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Dark-colored urine
- Pale or clay colored stool
So, what can you do to avoid contracting hepatitis A? The health department says the vaccine is best, but practicing good hygiene is also important. That means washing your hands with soap and water.
Hand sanitizers do not kill the virus.
According to the health department, the number of hepatitis-A cases in Florida is growing exponentially. There have been 3079 cases in 2019.
In 2018, there were 548.
Pinellas and Pasco counties are among the hardest hit.
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