Two Detroit eateries investigated for Hepatitis A

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
Firewater Bar and Grill.

Detroit's Health Department is looking into two cases of Hepatitis A involving restaurant employees at two Detroit eateries. 

One case involves an employee at the Firewater Bar and Grill on Milwaukee Street near East Grand Boulevard in the city's New Center area, the agency said. 

It also said the other case involves a resident who works at a Little Caesars Pizza shop on Fenkell near Meyers Road on the city's west side.

Officials said they are investigating both businesses to make sure they are following the proper food-handling and cleaning protocols. Both establishments have been cooperative, city officials said.

In the meantime, both infected workers are not being allowed to return to their jobs until they are cleared by a doctor, the department said.

The department is also advising anyone who has eaten food from the bar from Oct. 15-24 or from the Little Caesars from Oct. 15-26 to visit their doctor as soon as possible to get a Hepatitis A vaccine before Nov. 7.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that is caused by a virus. The disease can range from a mild illness to a severe sickness that can last several months. Symptoms can appear similar to the flu as well as yellow-colored eyes and skin as well as dark urine.

The number of cases of Hepatitis A case is on the rise in Michigan. Between Aug. 1, 2016 and Oct. 26, 2017, there were 457 confirmed cases, which resulted in 18 deaths, according to state officials.The number of cases in Detroit and Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe and St. Clair counties represents a 16-fold increase over the same period in 2014-15.

A person can get the virus by eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, or by having sex with someone who has been infected for or by living with an infected person. 

The health department is also offering free hepatitis vaccines at its immunization clinics, located at 5555 Conner Street and 8726 Woodward Avenue.

For information, call the Detroit Health Department at (313) 876-4000.

"The Detroit Health Department has been working diligently to make sure we are identifying cases of Hepatitis A in the city and working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, hospitals, physicians, and community partners to increase awareness and encourage vaccination." Joneigh Khaldun, the department's director and Health Officer, said in a statement.