Hepatitis exposure warning for Church St. patrons

Toronto Public Health is advising anyone who consumed food or beverages at O’Grady’s on Church restaurant located at 518 Church St. between June 7 and June 23 that they may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

An employee of the restaurant is a confirmed case of hepatitis A. While the risk is low, individuals who consumed food or beverages from this restaurant during these dates should watch for signs and symptoms, practice thorough hand washing and consider contacting their health care provider as they may be eligible for vaccination.

Toronto Public Health is holding free hepatitis A vaccine clinics for anyone who consumed food or beverages at this restaurant during this time period. The hepatitis A vaccine is most effective when received within 14 days of exposure.

Clinic dates and times:

• Friday, June 30 from 1 to 7 p.m. at East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell Ave.
• Saturday, July 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Metro Hall, 55 John St., rooms 308 and 309

Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause a liver infection. Symptoms can last a few days to several months. The virus is rarely fatal and most people develop lifetime immunity following infection. Hepatitis A can be serious however, especially for older people and those with chronic liver disease. For these individuals, there is a greater risk of hospitalization and death.

Most people who are infected recover completely. Unlike hepatitis B and C, hepatitis A does not develop into chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and death from hepatitis A infection is rare.

Symptoms can begin 15 to 50 days after becoming infected. It is also possible to be infected and not have any symptoms. For symptomatic individuals, the severity of symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Common symptoms of hepatitis A include:

• fever
• tiredness
• loss of appetite
• nausea/vomiting
• dark urine
• stomach pains
• jaundice (yellowing of the skin)

This virus is transmitted from person-to-person by the fecal-oral route. It is found in the stool of a person infected with the virus. It is not spread by coughing or sneezing. A common route of exposure is food contaminated by infected food handlers.

Hepatitis A can be avoided by:
• Getting the hepatitis A vaccine.
• Not handling or preparing food for anyone if you are ill.
• Washing your hands often and thoroughly using soap and warm water. This is especially important after using the bathroom, changing a diaper and before preparing or eating food.

Always wash fresh fruits and vegetables. If you are travelling, especially outside of North America, be sure the water supply is safe before drinking it and use caution when consuming ice.

If you are concerned that you may have acquired hepatitis A or have questions about getting the vaccine contact Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 or speak with your primary care provider as soon as possible. For further information on hepatitis A visit http://bit.ly/2t4f97O.