West Palm Beach Restaurant Hepatitis A Case Shines A Light On The Virus

A case of hepatitis A at a West Palm Beach restaurant brings Palm Beach County's total so far this year to 15.

There were 13 cases in all of last year, but Florida Health Department, Palm Beach County's Director of Communications and Public Information, Alex Shaw, says it's important to put it in perspective.

"Everyone is much more aware of what's going on. That means more people are coming forward. More people are getting tested and more people are wanting to make sure of whether they have it or not. So it's not surprising to see a slight increase in the cases that we've seen."

He says the increased attention is due to the fact that there have been 20 cases so far in nearby Martin County and lots of media coverage.

Shaw says anyone who ate or drank at the Butcher Shop Beer Garden and Grill between April 10th and May 1st have to watch for symptoms for quite a while.

"If you were there between those dates, you've got to figure out what is the 50 day mark from the date you were there. That's when you should look for symptoms. If you get past 50 days and you haven't displayed any symptoms, you're probably fine."

Restaurant management says the worker is a dishwasher who did not handle food. Shaw says that's a good thing.

"If you have hepatitis A and your hands are not clean and you touch that food and someone else eats the food, then it can be transferred. So, the fact that it was a dishwasher and not a cook, there is definitely less of a chance."

He recommends the community get vaccinated for hep-A and wash your hands frequently.

 

Meanwhile, Shaw stresses that nobody else at the Butcher Shop tested positive for hepatitis A and restaurant management says none of their other workers have been showing symptoms.

They also claim that the restaurant is wiped down every day by a cleaning crew.

But CBS 12 is reporting that there were 30 new health code violations found at the restaurant by health inspectors who stopped by just days after it was learned a dishwasher there had hepatitis A.

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation found violations regarding hand-washing of employees who handle food, as well as others including several insects flying above the beer taps, poor temperature control of food.

Click Here for the CBS 12 report.

Photo: CBS 12

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