Employee of the Ooltewah restaurant diagnosed with Hep A, health officials request vaccinations

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The Chattanooga-Hamilton County health department is urging customers of an Ooltewah restaurant to get vaccinated, this after confirming to an employee that he was diagnosed with acute hepatitis A. (Image: CDC)

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County health department is urging customers of an Ooltewah restaurant to get vaccinated, this after confirming to an employee that he was diagnosed with acute hepatitis A.

According to officials, an employee of the Western Sizzlin Restaurant, located in 6021 Relocation Way, Ooltewah, TN 37363 was working there contagious from 10 to 20 March 2019.

The Department of Health asks anyone who has eaten at the restaurant at that time to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

According to the Department of Health, the hepatitis A vaccine is safe, effective and well tolerated. It is the best protection against hepatitis A virus. Other protective measures, such as immunoglobulin injections, may be recommended for some people.

In an effort to help those affected, the department offers free vaccines against hepatitis A in the following special clinics:

Sunday, March 24, 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm:

  • Department of Health (Main Campus), 921 E. 3rd Street, Chattanooga, TN 37403

Monday 25 March, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm:

  • Ooltewah Health Center, 5520 High Street, Ooltewah, TN 37363
  • Department of Health (Main Campus), 921 E. 3rd Street, Chattanooga, TN 37403

Tuesday 26 March, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm:

  • Ooltewah Health Center, 5520 High Street, Ooltewah, TN 37363
  • Department of Health (Main Campus), 921 E. 3rd Street, Chattanooga, TN 37403

If you can't make it to one of these clinics, you can go to any Health Department health center during the regular hours, every day of the next week.

The Department of Health claims that the symptoms of hepatitis A are fatigue, decreased appetite, stomach pain, nausea, darkened urine, pale stools and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). People can get sick 15 to 50 days after being exposed to the virus. Anyone suffering from symptoms should consult a doctor.

Officials from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department confirmed 129 hepatitis A cases have been reported in Hamilton County since May 2018. During this time, the Department of Health conducted a vaccine campaign against hepatitis A , supported by community partners and the Tennessee Department of Health. So far, over 5,000 vaccinations have been provided.

Officials claim that hepatitis A usually spreads via the fecal-oral route through the ingestion of contaminated food or drink, close contact from person to person with an infected person and the use of drugs recreational, especially intravenous drugs. The best ways to prevent hepatitis A infection must be vaccinated and practice good hand washing to remove germs.

For more information, visit the Department of Health website here, or call 423-209-8190 during regular hours.

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