Hepatitis Outbreak: This Is Why You Need To Wash Your Hands Before You Return To Work

Hepatitis A is an extremely contagious disease that can be passed along by food service workers who don’t thoroughly wash their hands — and that may have been the case at a Milan, Illinois McDonald’s according to the Quad City Times.

From the Quad City Times:

[A spokeswoman for the Rock Island County Health Department] declined comment about news reports that employees of a McDonald’s restaurant in Milan, Ill., were tested Wednesday for hepatitis A.

The business on U.S. 67 was closed Thursday. A sign was posted on the window of every door and at the drive-thru area. Written all in capital letters, the sign read: “Sorry for any inconvenience, but we are closed until further notice.”

Workers could be seen inside the building about 6 p.m. Thursday, sweeping floors and scrubbing chairs, including the type used for toddlers.

Kevin Murphy, owner of the business, could not be reached for comment by the Quad-City Times.

There have been 19 confirmed cases of the disease in the area recently, according to the article. The size of the outbreak is unusual because since 1995, children have been vaccinated against the disease. Hepatitis A is rarely fatal, but does have the ability to damage the liver.

The CDC says, “Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter – even in microscopic amounts – from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces or stool of an infected person. ” Yuck.

Hepatitis A [CDC]
Hepatitis A outbreak reported in Henry, Rock Island and Mercer counties [Quad City Times]
Customer, parent outraged over Hepatitis-A handling [WQAD]