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FOR RELEASE: February 17, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Hepatitis A in El Reno Food Handler

The Oklahoma State Department of Health, working with Canadian County Health Department officials, has confirmed that a food handler at the Sonic restaurant located at 1120 Sunset Drive in El Reno, Oklahoma, has hepatitis A. Persons who ate hot dogs with onions or chili pies with onions purchased between 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on February 13 may have been exposed to infectious hepatitis A.

Health officials recommend an immune globulin (IG) shot for persons who ate hot dogs with onions or chili pies with onions on this day. Restaurant patrons who did not eat hot dogs with onions or chili pies with onions at these times are not at risk for transmission of hepatitis A from this food handler. There is no longer a known risk of exposure to infectious hepatitis A from this Sonic restaurant.

Persons who believe they are at risk can obtain an IG shot from their private physician or their local county health department. The Canadian County Health Department, 200 South Bickford Avenue in El Reno, phone 405/262-0042, will hold a special clinic to administer IG at no cost on Tuesday, February 20th from 8:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Canadian County Health Department will be closed on Monday, February 19 for Presidents' Day.

Persons who believe they are at risk can also obtain IG at no cost from the Canadian County Health Department on the following days and times:

Wednesday, February 21st: 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 22nd: 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Friday, February 23rd: 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Monday, February 26th: 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 27th: 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Health officials warn that immune globulin is in short supply in the United States, thus, each person should carefully evaluate whether he or she was exposed to the food items during the times and dates listed, before requesting IG.

Immune globulin should be given after the exposure and can be 80 to 90 percent effective in preventing hepatitis A. The shots are not recommended after two weeks following exposure. For example, persons who dined at the restaurant on February 13 must receive their IG immunization on or before February 27, 2001.

The best method to prevent the transmission of hepatitis A is through the practice of good personal hygiene, which includes thorough handwashing following use of the restroom or changing diapers.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include: fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and generalized weakness. These symptoms may be followed in a few days by dark brown urine and yellow eyes and skin. If these symptoms occur, persons should contact their private physician

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