July 19, 2009
Statewide Public Health Response to Hepatitis A Outbreak in Rock Island County
Illinois Public Health Mutual Aid System activated to assist with clinic
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold today announced the activation of the Illinois Public Health Mutual Aid System (IPHMAS) to assist the Rock Island County Health Department (RICHD) with a vaccination clinic in response to a hepatitis A outbreak. A food service worker employed by the McDonald’s restaurant in Milan, Illinois and diagnosed with hepatitis A was reported to have worked during his/her infectious period and handled food items that were not subsequently cooked.
The Rock Island County Health Department, with assistance from IPHMAS and the Illinois Medical Emergency Response Team (IMERT) and the Illinois Nurse Volunteer Emergency Needs Team (INVENT), will hold clinics on Monday and Tuesday.
Clinics Scheduled for Hepatitis A Response
When: Monday, July 20, and Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Where: Rock Island High School
What: Hepatitis A vaccinations and immune globulin will be administered at no charge.
Who: Eligible recipients are those with the following criteria:
Consumed food or beverages at McDonald’s Restaurant in Milan, IL
Those who consumed products from this restaurant during this time period will receive either hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin, not both.
If the person has previously received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine, no further immunization or immune globulin is necessary – they are already protected from hepatitis A. In addition, if someone has been ill in the past from hepatitis A, they would not become ill from it again – their body would have developed immunity. If a person receives this vaccine/ immune globulin more than 14 days after they have eaten at Milan McDonald’s, it may not provide protection.
To date, local health departments have reported 18 confirmed cases of hepatitis A to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
Hepatitis A is a viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver and occurs 15 to 50 days after exposure to an infected food item or person. Symptoms may include loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dark colored urine and yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes. If you have these symptoms, contact your doctor or a medical professional. However, persons who are infected with hepatitis A may have no symptoms, but could still potentially infect others.
“Hepatitis A is a virus that can be carried on the hands of an infected person who does not wash his or her hands thoroughly after using the bathroom. You can become infected by direct contact with a person who does not practice good hand hygiene or by consuming food or drink handled by an infected person,” said Dr. Arnold. “Your best defense against getting ill or making others ill is to properly wash your hands –use soap and warm water and rub your hands for 20 seconds.”
Assistance from local health departments for the hepatitis A outbreak has been requested through the Illinois Public Health Mutual Aid System. The IPHMAS was created in 2004 in an effort to strengthen the public health system’s ability to respond to an emergency. Any local health department in Illinois that has signed an IPHMAS agreement can request assistance from any local health department in Illinois that has also signed the agreement.
“We are very fortunate to have a public health mutual aid system in place in Illinois and to have conducted and participated in full scale exercises for large clinics in recent years. Because of this, RICHD has been able to put our pre-existing plans into action in order to meet the public health needs of our community quickly. We are very thankful for the outpouring of additional help from agencies throughout the State of Illinois and Rock Island County’s community partners throughout the Quad Cities during this Hepatitis A outbreak,” said Wendy Trute, RICHD Administrator.
In addition, approximately 25 nurses and support staff from IMERT and INVENT are assisting in the administration of vaccine and immune globulin. Both teams are volunteer organizations with all levels of emergency medical personnel as well as individuals with backgrounds in logistics, communications, safety, and information technologies whose mission it is to respond to and assist with emergency medical treatment during emergencies.
For additional information on hepatitis A, log onto www.idph.state.il.us.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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