150 Hepatitis A vaccinations administered today

150 Hepatitis A vaccinations administered today

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by TONY BURBECK & RAD BERKY / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @RadBerkywcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on February 19, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 28 at 3:53 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hundreds of people could have been exposed to hepatitis A at two popular bars.

Health officials say the possible exposure happened at Whiskey Warehouse in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood in Charlotte and Hooters in Concord near the speedway.

A bartender who works at both of those locations has a confirmed case of the virus and was serving food and drinks, but not touching the food, health officials said.

On Wednesday, the Mecklenburg County Health Department said approximately 150 Hepatitis A vaccinations were administered at their free clinic.

The dates, times and locations of concern include:
The Hooters on February 7th or 8th, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Whiskey Warehouse on February 6th, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., February 9th from 4:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m., or February 13th from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The exposure is prompting the Mecklenburg County and Cabarrus County Health Departments to offer free hepatitis A vaccinations starting Wednesday.

Frankie Gunnell went to Whiskey Warehouse February 13 to watch the Carolina-Duke basketball game. He ordered food and drinks.

"That night, easily 50 people in that bar, maybe even more,” Gunnell said.

"In the sense that they're handling silverware, glasses and plates, then the potential is still there,” said Mecklenburg County Health Director Dr. Wynn Mabry.

Hepatitis A is a virus that comes with flu-like symptoms, including fever, diarrhea and nausea.  It can take up to seven weeks for those symptoms to appear and can damage the liver if not treated.
It spreads when hands aren't properly washed.

It's been six days since Gunnell ate and drank at Whiskey Warehouse.

"I'm not sick. Actually feel fine,” he said.

Gunnell got vaccinated Tuesday just in case.  The vaccine has to be given within 14 days of exposure for it to work.

"We want to get that vaccine in their system as a protection for that period of time,” Dr. Mabry said.

People can recover from it from rest as well.

For now, health officials say the bartender is the only confirmed case. They don't know how he got it.

"I don't place blame on anyone, just glad I heard about it and came and got the vaccine,” said Gunnell.

At Whiskey Warehouse Tuesday night, many customers said they had not heard what happened.

Marlon Williams said someone sent him a text while he was eating, telling him about a bartender who had been diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

"We just finished eating. At the time you think about it but the food was good. I had no complaints about it. I would come again," he said.

General Manager Johnnalyn Blais said, "As soon as a staff member was diagnosed, we found out from the Health Department and that staff member has not been on the premises since we were aware."

The Mecklenburg County Health Department will provide free hepatitis A vaccine shots starting Wednesday through February 27.

Vaccinations at the Cabarrus County Health Department start Wednesday and run through Friday.  The vaccines are free at both locations.

This is the first confirmed case of hepatitis A in a food worker in the last nine years in Mecklenburg County.

Overall, there were three cases of hepatitis A in Mecklenburg County in 2012.

Clinic Details

The Mecklenburg County Health Department is offering the following clinic hours for walk-in service at 249 Billingsley Road:

•    Wednesday, Feb. 20, from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m.
•    Thursday, Feb. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.
•    Friday, Feb. 22 from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m.
•    Monday Feb. 25 from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m.
•    Tuesday Feb. 26 from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m.
•    Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m.

For Cabarrus County residents, the Public Health Authority and the Cabarrus Health Alliance will offer the following clinic hours for walk in service at 300 Mooresville Road in Concord:

•    Wednesday, Feb. 20 from 3 to 7 p.m.
•    Thursday, Feb. 21, from 3 to 7 p.m.
•    Friday, Feb. 22, from 3 to 7 p.m.

If you may have been exposed and have questions, you may contact the Mecklenburg County Health Department at (704) 336-5398 or the Public Health Authority of Cabarrus County at (704) 920-1213

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