PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A dishwasher at a West Palm Beach restaurant has tested positive for hepatitis A and may have exposed customers to the contagious disease, according to health officials.
The Florida Department of Health says a worker at the Butcher Shop Beer Garden & Grill, located at 209 6th Street, was infected. The case was confirmed on April 25, but it took weeks to track down the person who tested positive.
Health officials say the employee, who has not been identified because of patient privacy laws, may have exposed customers to hepatitis A between April 10 and May 1.
If you ate at the restaurant during that time, the Department of Health says you should monitor for symptoms including:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Dark urine
- Pale white stools
- Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
If you experience any of those symptoms, seek medical attention right away.
A spokesperson for the Butcher Shop Beer Garden & Grill released this statement Monday afternoon:
"Food safety is our main concern at the Butcher shop and we have always met and exceeded industrywide seafood standards. The employee who was diagnosed was a dishwasher and at no time handled or came in contact with food in our establishment. We understand the concerns that the community may have but remain confident in the safety and cleanliness of our kitchen. The West Palm Beach department of health did not find anything wrong with our cleanliness standards and gave us a clean bill of health."
According to the Florida Department of Health, four new cases of hepatitis A have surfaced in our area, including two in St. Lucie County, and one each in Palm Beach and Okeechobee Counties.
Here are the latest number of cases this year in our local counties:
- Martin County: 20
- Palm Beach County: 15
- St. Lucie County: 11
- Okeechobee County: 3
- Indian River County: 0
Last month, state and local health officials said the source of a hepatitis A outbreak in Martin County is unknown, and could take weeks to uncover.
Doctors say the best way to protect yourself from getting hepatitis A is to get vaccinated, and wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before handling food. The hepatitis A vaccine is available at doctor's offices, urgent care centers, pharmacies, and county health departments.
Health officials say the incubation time for hepatitis A is 15 to 50 days. That means you would start seeing symptoms between 15 and 50 days after you were exposed to the virus.
If you have questions about hepatitis A, call the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County at (561) 840- 4568 or (561) 671-4184.
Several Florida counties are experiencing an increase in #HepatitisA, mirroring national trends. Share this informational website with friends and family to encourage them to get the #hepA #vaccine and become more #HepAware: https://t.co/Kk7uaSwvsm pic.twitter.com/8uyIKWW7DB— Florida Dept. Health (@HealthyFla) April 12, 2019