HEPATITUS AND THE FOOD BUSINESS



WHATS WRONG?

We have in the United States problematic new issues, some that are restaurant related believe it or not, and are posted here as a public service...  Hepatitus, Measles, and ChickenPox can be carried in food items…  All are preventable by vaccines.  unless someone who knows nothing about immunology tells you otherwise.   There is however no Vaccine for stupidity

From January 1, 2018 through June 8, 2019, 2,014 hepatitis A cases were reported.



TAMPA BAY

 EPICENTER FOR

 HEPATITUS -A 

Since January 2018, the Florida Department of Health reports that more than 1,200 cases of hepatitis A have been reported statewide, with 89 new cases in the last week. The increase reflects similar national trends, as local and state health departments across the country have worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to outbreaks since March 2017.

Hepatitis-A is transmitted from person-to-person through contact with an infected person’s feces, which can result from poor hand-washing after using the bathroom.  Hepatitis A can spread through food or water contaminated with fecal matter or during close contact with others, such as sexually.   While most patients with hepatitis-A will fully recover, some may require hospitalization. Deaths rarely occur, but it is not a very pleasant experience and those with weak systems are threatened.

The symptoms of HEPATITUS-A can include: fever, jaundice, tiredness, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, diarrhea, and gray, clay-colored stool. If you have symptoms of hepatitis A, visit your healthcare provider for evaluation. People who are exposed to hepatitis A may be given a vaccine or immune globulin within 14 days of exposure to prevent infection.

As of Saturday, 954 cases of the contagious liver disease had been reported in the state this year, compared to 549 cases in all of 2018 and 276 cases in 2017.

Health officials say the outbreak began last year, and APRIL 883 cases, MAY 1129, cases  JUNE 2000


THE LOSER BOARD IN HEPATITUS-A 

BY THE NUMBERS

With Hepatitis A cases skyrocketing across Florida, reported cases among food workers are also on a steep rise. That’s creating a real public health issue, as ingesting the virus through food or water is the easiest way to contract it.  Yet the DOH chooses not to notify the public of some food worker cases, according to a spokesperson, as the agency weighs the risk to patrons against the risk of a public health scare.

In the case of this grocery store employee last week, who was hospitalized after symptoms worsened over the course of several days, the DOH determined there was “no risk” to customers or even many employees at the store, according to a spokesperson for the grocery chain.

However, neither the DOH nor the Florida Department of Agriculture would answer questions or provide public records this past week about their joint investigation. Only after days of pressure from a reporter did the DOH acknowledge its investigation was not exempt from public record; however, none were provided as of Saturday.

Not every Hepatitis case may necessitate public notice, but if you pay attention to the news, it’s becoming a daily occurrence in Florida. The state reports more cases of Hepatitis A in the first five months of 2019 than the previous five years combined.

Tampa Bay is ground zero for the epidemic, with cases of the liver virus particularly prevalent in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties.

One of the region’s top public health experts says food workers should be required to get Hepatitis vaccines and any case that presents even the slightest risk to customers should be publicized by the state and the food establishment.

A spokesperson for the grocery store says the company followed state protocol on notification and response, getting a clean bill of health from the state for its internal processes, including hand-washing, glove use and sanitation. As an additional precaution, the company recommended vaccines to anyone who worked in the same department as the affected individual.


10 GOOD RULES

1-  Avoid buffets period.  But especially where people you don’t know are handling food and many of the patrons like to stir and check every piece  in the tray and sometimes handle it.   There’s a huge potential for illness there, especially when those foods aren't kept at the proper temperature.  Aside from improperly cooked or stored foods — which can be a danger anywhere, not just at buffets — the other big danger is cross-contamination. 

2-   Cross-contamination can also happen anywhere, but buffets have more potential hazards. With all customers serving themselves, there's a huge chance for the transfer of germs on serving utensils. And it isn't hard for someone to use one serving spoon for multiple dishes. This is bad; please don’t do it. 

3-  When it comes to dangerous or critical temperature foods like seafood, you might want to consider giving some of the seafood (particularly raw things like oysters and sushi) a miss for the time being as they require hands on handling.

4-  Long sleeves making contact with the food or serving line is bad, and that’s not even mentioning people who might pick up a dinner roll, change their mind and put it back.  

5-  Look out for servers coughing or sneezing into their elbow and then bringing you you plate in the crook of your arm.  Refuse the dish! 

6-  So to keep yourself safe, look for telltale danger signs like spoon handles touching food, other customers returning with dirty plates, and dishes that don’t have their own individual serving spoon or set of tongs. Avoid those things, and maybe let an employee know what’s going on.

7-  Since you’re already thinking about buffet safety, let’s touch on the sneeze guard.  The invention of the sneeze guard came about solely because the inventor couldn’t stand the thought of anyone sneezing or breathing their germs on food that other people were going to eat, and he succeeded in revolutionizing food safety. 

8-  If you’re trying to eat healthy and pay more attention to what goes from the kitchen to the plate to your fork, visiting the expansive temptation of a buffet might seem like a daunting challenge. But here are some ways to avoid some of the biggest buffet pitfalls and (maybe) some of the buffet sickness.

9-  Check your plates and utensils for cleanliness. If it is a Chinese style buffet, learn to use chopsticks and then throw them away.

10-  Never use a plate twice….

VACCINATIONS

We have the largest number of fast food establishments in the world, it’s a cultural thing...  We also have many unskilled and untrained workers in the food industry.  The turnover, seasonally and corporately is definitely a problem for the business owner or store corporate manager.  Many of these workers are not trained in keeping a business sanitary, some don’t follow instructions, some should not be hired, some have language problems and some bring some really bad problems to bear.  Some may even bring Hepatitus or Measles from another place.

Think of a line cook with Hepatitus-A handling one hundred (100) plates on a busy lunch and not properly sanitizing.   
EDITOR:  I talk to owners all day long and get the same thing,  “ Good help is hard to find and I also hear from workers many places don’t pay squat”.

We have a love affair with fast, fast cars, fast food, fast lives.  We also now have the highest obesity, based on corporate food... I understand it...  Americans are getting fatter, lazier, and judging by voting dumber… choices we are not paying attention to…  and there is a new threat, lies, untruths misconceptions and direct falsehoods about…where and what we eat.  But there are no vaccinations for stupidity, ignorance and hygiene. 

 

AN EXCELLENT PLACE TO SPREAD DISEASE

The place you eat at may be problematic and currently we are looking at the local Tampa Bay Area for this month on May.  

These establishments are ones that have reported cases by the Health Department of Florida. Customers that got sick from attending these locations and have NOT been reinspected, as they complied.  But they are under watch.  Hepatitus is serious and the restaurant business is a hotbed.   The owner has no choice but to remove the person with HEPATITIS-A it or medical leave till cured. 

And the owner should get the word out to the customers if they visited the place within ten or twelve days, when you are or were susceptible.

Personally,  knowing what I was told by a HEALTH OFFICIAL,  about one to two months is a good time to stay away because worker connectivity and worker familiarity ( many times just screwing around, body contact using same utensils etc,  is contact)  because of the up to two week life cycle of contagion transferable over and over to another person is common in the business and you are the end user.  ( In other words it can go back and forth).

Opinions and false information from a non-recognized source don’t count.   Do not believe third party thoughts, psychic friends, friends of moms with measles thirty years ago,  unknown nor made up friends, my friends friend told him,  second hand opinion, all don’t count.  Nor do mysterious no-it-all gurus don’t count, I trust the Health people not the fakirs and false prophets with theory’s that came from cheap peyote... 

We need a certified health card Program for all food service workers period.   



HEPATITUS AND FOOD LAWS

SPECIAL THANKS TO ABC ACTION NEWS WHO HAS TAKEN UP THE CHALLENGE
They compiled basic and key information you need to know about Hepatitis-A so you and your family will know how you can stay safe at work, school and when you eat out.  Thank you...

OUTDATED LAWS AND PROGRAMS
Florida does not require food workers to get tested or be vaccinated for hepatitis A. In fact, only a few cities and counties across the country require food workers to get the Hepatitis-A shot.  One St. Pete doctor, who specializes in Hepatitis cases, says these recent hepatitis A cases should be a wake-up call for Florida leaders.

“Now that we are seeing this outbreak again, we’ve brought it to the surface, and we can get these people vaccinated and prevent these things from happening,” explained Dr. Bob Wallace.   In the past, the CDC has not specifically recommended hepatitis A vaccinations for food service workers because outbreaks are rare and food workers are not at an increased risk of infection because of their jobs.

However, symptoms can take up to 15 days after the initial exposure occurs, so sometimes food handlers don’t feel ill during the peak time of infection.  The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated. The vaccine — which is recommended in two doses, six months apart — provides lifetime protection against the virus. Doctors say the shot is 95 percent effective and works within just a few days after a person receives a vaccine. 

Florida has seen 954 cases of the contagious liver disease in 2019 alone, with seven months left in the calendar year. In all of 2018, there were 549 cases and 276 cases in 2017.

Pinellas County is leading the state with the number of cases, followed by Pasco County. Hillsborough County comes in third for the most cases statewide. 

ABC Action News contacted the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Florida Department of Health to see if they’ll make changes requiring vaccines and tests for food workers. Both groups tell ABC Action News it will be up to state legislators to make a change. Current laws only require Hep A vaccines for workers in hospitals, nursing homes and schools.

ED:  Like everything else in our lawyer based civil liberty society do-nothing is acceptable,  pro-active safety or for the benefit of the consumer never gets a nudge.  Better to have an outbreak and be known as the do-nothing society time after time than enforce a simple requirement for those not only serving the locals but our valued tourist Industry.  We have some really bad people who control our daily lives and our health.


HEPATITUS - A

TAMPA, Fla. – Hepatitis-A  has become a booming epidemic in Tampa Bay and we are taking action to help keep you and your family stay safe.  The Hepatitis-A epidemic has become so bad that Florida officials declared a heath advisory on the virus statewide.    

As more restaurant employees in our area get linked with cases of Hepatitis-A,  it is more important than ever to follow proper preventative measures. On top of that, it’s also vital to not fall for the various types of myths and misinformation ( common vernacular BULLSHIT) being spread online and on social media regarding the disease.   Here is the current file on Hepatitus-A  in Tampa Bay and truth.

What is Hepatitis-A?
Hepatitis-A  is a communicable disease of the liver caused by the Hepatitis-A virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  It is usually transmitted person-to-person through the “fecal-oral route or consumption of contaminated food or water,” according to CDC.

How does Hepatitis-A spread?
Hepatitis A spreads through the feces of those infected with the virus, according to the Florida Department of Health (DOH). If the infected person doesn’t thoroughly wash their hands after using the restroom, the traces of feces can transfer to objects, food, drinks or drugs they touch, DOH said on its website. The virus then spreads from person to person if the said contaminated food, drink, object or drugs are ingested.

DOH said the virus can also spread during close contact, like sex.
State officials say there have been over 1,200 hepatitis a cases in Florida since January 2018.  
ABC Action News’ I-Team found Pinellas County had no cases of Hepatitis A just two years ago, but the county reported more than 100 new cases last year.  Now, more than 200 new confirmed cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in Pinellas County in just the first four months of this year.

READ THIS AND COMPLAIN TO THE COUNTY

NOTE:  PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Health bosses in Pinellas County are standing by their refusal to tell the dining public the name of every restaurant with Hepatitis-A infected workers claiming that information is protected by medical privacy rules.  ( Quote: Screw that thinking, I want to know who is sick)  “Epidemiological investigations are considered confidential,” said Pinellas County Health Department spokeswoman Maggie Hall. “We don’t identify restaurants where we do investigations.”

But the I-Team uncovered a double standard when it comes to that confidential information.  ABC Action News has learned Pinellas County Health Department officials contact all restaurant employees to tell them when they’ve been working alongside someone with Hepatitis-A, and make them get vaccinated.

But diners ( me and you) are not allowed to know that information – even if they eat at that same restaurant on a regular basis, according to the county health department.



KNOWN HEPATITUS LOCATIONS
CHECK WITH MANAGEMENT FOR CURRENCY

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY:

Ulele - 1810 N Highland Avenue, Tampa - Joint investigation:  Feb. 6
McDonald's -   3470 Ulmerton Rd, Clearwater - Infectious period: Dec. 21 - 29 Joint investigation: Jan. 1
IHOP - 11350 Bloomingdale Avenue, Riverview - Joint investigation: July 2
Hamburger Mary’s - 1800 East 8th Avenue, Tampa    Joint investigation: Oct.  24
Golf Club at Cypress Creek - 1011 Cypress Village Blvd, Sun City Center - Joint investigation: Nov. 14Sandpiper Grille - 1702S Pebble Beach Blvd., Sun City Center - Joint investigation: April 3

PINELLAS COUNTY:

Ferg's Sports Bar & Grill - 1320 Central Ave,  St. Pete on April 15- Joint investigation: April 18
Quaker Steak & Lube - 10400 49th St., Clearwater - Joint investigation: Aug. 31
Treasure Island Bar - 245 108 Ave., Treasure Island - Bartender - Joint investigation: Dec. 4
Hellas Bakery - Joint investigation: March 15   WHAT?
Subway - 31087 Cortez Blvd. - Joint investigation: March 2
Toasted Monkey - 6110 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach - Line Cook - Joint investigation: Nov. 2
Tony’s Pizzeria - 422 Cleveland Street - Joint investigation: Nov. 29
Taco Bell - 8671 Ulmerton Rd, Largo - Joint investigation: Dec. 5
Taco Bell - 40976 N US Hwy 19, Tarpon Springs - Infectious period: April 12 - April 14
Pollo Tropical - 2140 Gulf to Bay Blvd, Clearwater - Joint investigation: March 25   JUST OPENED 4 MO AGO
Jimmy’s Fish House - 521 S Gulf view Blvd, Clearwater Beach - Joint investigation: April 2


PASCO COUNTY:
Grill Dawg - 5419 Treadway Dr., Port Richey - Joint investigation: Feb. 14
Timber Greens County Club - 6333 Timber Greens Blvd., New Port Richey - Joint investigation: Oct. 25 
Ollies on the Beach - 6438 Clark Street, Hudson - Joint investigation: Jan. 25
Taso Italiano - 4016 Little Rd., New Port Richey - Joint investigation: Feb. 5
Cracker Barrel - 5341 US Hwy 19, New Port Richey - Joint investigation: Feb. 18
Bob Katz Bar and Grill - 12340 US Hwy 19 N, Hudson - Joint investigation: April 1


SARASOTA COUNTY:
Pizza Burger N Tacos - 1409 Main St, Sarasota - Joint investigation: Dec. 2018
Spring Hill Suites of Sarasota - 1020 University Pkwy, Sarasota - Joint investigation: Jan. 11


HERNANDO COUNTY:
The Grill at Silverhorn Inc. 4550 Golf Club Lane, Spring Hill Patrons may have been exposed April 12-30


MY TRUST IS MY DOCTOR
The only guy I trust is my Dr. who made me get a HEPATITUS-A  six months ago when the first case showed up from restaurant workers.  He contacted me because I write about food, I am around food and workers a lot and I come in contact with shared food with others.   He has credentials in three fields, works with new residents and new nurse practitioners to the medical field from USF and is really well up on whats happening...  In my other website www.aljacobsladder.com I talk about good doctors and bad doctors.