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Restaurant Staff Get Hepatitis A Vaccinations

The Spokane County Restaurant and Hospitality Association continues to work with the Spokane Regional Health District to curb an outbreak of hepatitis A, health officials said Friday.

Eleven restaurants have voluntarily agreed to have employees vaccinated, said health officer Dr. Kim Thorburn. She made a plea for other restaurants to follow suit.

“I don’t see that I’m going to have to declare an emergency because of the cooperation I’ve had,” Thorburn said. “But it is an emergency that we’re facing here in Spokane.

“Even with dramatic interventions we can’t expect this to be taken care of immediately.”

As of Wednesday, 139 people had been diagnosed with hepatitis. There were 20 cases at this time last year.

The disease is spread by fecal-oral contact or by eating contaminated food. An infected person is contagious for two weeks before symptoms begin and two weeks after.

Symptoms include yellowing of the skin or eyes, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea.

Anyone with questions or concerns should call the Hepatitis A Hot Line: 323-2847. , DataTimes

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