According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that is usually transmitted either through person-to-person contact or through consumption of contaminated food or water [1}. It is usually transmitted when an infected person has not properly washed his or her hands after using the restroom or before preparing and eating food.
While instances of Hepatitis A are rare in the United States, outbreaks happen and can have a major impact. For example, San Diego County has been monitoring an outbreak, which has caused more than 300 illnesses and 10 deaths, since the beginning of 2017. So, how can you prevent the spread of Hepatitis A in your restaurant? Here are some tips from the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health:
- Ensure employees are washing their hands with soap and water after using the restroom, before preparing, serving, or eating food, switching tasks, and after any possible contamination
- Regularly clean restrooms (staff and public) and common areas of your restaurant with a disinfectant formulated to kill Hepatitis A. Have staff wear disposable gloves while cleaning and make sure they wash their hands after removing the gloves
- Do not allow food handlers to work when ill or return to work until they have been symptom-free for two days
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces throughout your restaurant. These include high chairs, tables and chairs, doorknobs, railings and kitchen surfaces
For more information on Hepatitis A infection control and prevention, download this fact sheet from the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Viral Hepatitis - Hepatitis A Information. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav