Patrons, Employees at 2 Local Restaurants Face Hep A Exposure
CHARLOTTE / CONCORD, N.C. - An employee who works at both Whiskey Warehouse on The Plaza in east Charlotte and Hooters on Bruton Smith Boulevard in Concord has been diagnosed with viral Hepatitis A. Hep A is a liver disease spread by eating or drinking contaminated items. Hand washing is the best way to prevent its spread.
"The potential of that employee, potentially spreading the disease to fellow employees and patrons is something we're concerned about," says Mecklenburg County Health Department director Dr. Wynn Mabry.
Approximately 150 people may have been exposed at Hooters on February 7th or 8th and 300 at Whiskey Warehouse on February 6, 9 and the 13th. "I guess it could happen anywhere," says Plaza Midwood resident Frankie Gunnel. He came to the health department to get the Hep A vaccine as a precaution. "I was at Whiskey Warehouse the night of the Duke-Carolina game the 13th," he says.
The general manager of Whiskey Warehouse tells us she's in the process of taking the "right steps," including getting the word out. Johnnalyn Blais says, "The diagnosed staff member has not been in the building since we found out they contracted Hep A."
The manager at Hooters declined to go on camera but referred WCCB News to a PR rep in Raleigh who emailed us a statement. It says, in part, that safety is their number one priority and the restaurant is 'implementing precautions.'"
The employee apparently didn't realize they had Hep A until being hospitalized. It's a rare disease, but one most people recover from. Mabry says, "There's no treatment for it, in other words, your body just needs rest and good nutrition."
Symptoms of a Hep A infection can include fever, vomiting and diarrhea. The Mecklenburg and Cabarrus County Health Departments are offering free Hep A vaccines to anyone who thinks they were exposed. For more information, go to http://charmeck.org/MECKLENBURG/COUNTY/HEALTHDEPARTMENT/Pages/Default.aspx OR http://www.cabarrushealth.org/