Catching hepatitis while shopping
August 24, 2002 6:13 AM   Subscribe

Catching hepatitis while shopping seems to be not limited to one location in North America. North Carolina and Toronto supermarkets, a McDonalds in Wisconsin, is this a "new" trend?
posted by CrazyJub (16 comments total)
This is what happens when you put something in the title field but not in the URL field. If you just want to link in your body text, do your title there with bold tags, or skip one entirely.

This is probably an indicator of increased vigilance by public health authorities -- it's probably always been this common, but we didn't know much about it. Also in Toronto this week.

But apparently Pfizer has reason to cheer.
posted by dhartung at 7:54 AM on August 24, 2002

We had exactly the same thing in Vancouver back in March.
posted by pascal at 8:05 AM on August 24, 2002

Maps for Hepatitis A rates - CDC
posted by sheauga at 8:19 AM on August 24, 2002

Back in the late 80's in Upstate NY - they had the occasional hepatitis situation in the state, which is why they passed a law that all food workers had to wear plastic gloves all the time, so this doesn't seem 'new' to me in that sense.
posted by thunder at 8:26 AM on August 24, 2002

Hepatitis at McDonald's? Can I get that supersized with a Dr Pepper?
posted by TBoneMcCool at 8:34 AM on August 24, 2002

Am I missing something here? No customers "caught hepatitis while shopping" according to the three stories I just read.
posted by planetkyoto at 9:04 AM on August 24, 2002

hep one, hep two, hep three- throw in a double dose of cholera, dysentery and malaria: and PRESTO! You've got the disease overview of South Korea!

Somebody will probably attribute that to American foreign policy, right? Sure they will.
posted by hama7 at 9:24 AM on August 24, 2002

posted by dash_slot- at 9:27 AM on August 24, 2002

That map sheauga linked to is unusual. Most maps of infectious disease in the US show the South as having more than most other places. TB, for example, or syphilis. Probably in part because of the warmer climate, and partly that the South is poorer. Hep A is odd in that the South is spared, and the disease is clustered in the West. I don't understand this. Any ideas?
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:51 AM on August 24, 2002

Great question, Slithy_Tove. This article mentions "certain high-risk communities, such as Indian reservations, which have high rates of hepatitis A." Not sure if that accounts for it fully, though.

CrazyJub: was there a link you wanted us to see that didn't show up?
posted by mediareport at 10:12 AM on August 24, 2002

Facts from the CDC: One-third of Americans had evidence of past infection (immunity). There is no chronic (long-term) infection. Once you have had hepatitis A you cannot get it again.

From this I would venture that many people get it and dont realize it. Ive been very ill before and not gone to the hospital for blood work surely many others have as well. One third is a very high rate.
posted by stbalbach at 10:46 AM on August 24, 2002

here in wake county we've also had instances of the west nile virus popping up here and there. it's just not a good place to breathe, drink the water, or touch the handrails.
posted by oog at 11:31 AM on August 24, 2002

yes, hepA is not particularly scary, if you got it, it's usually flu-like, or sometimes worse, jaundice etc (some people die). There is a vaccine though, good news, you can read about it in this flyer (pdf). It lists people who should have the vaccine, so you should all read it and get it if you are high risk. if you have liver problems you really need it. also if you're at risk for hiv you are also at risk for hepA. </mom>
posted by rhyax at 11:40 AM on August 24, 2002

The Nando times article says that Hep A is rarely fatal. How is it that the Mcdonald's worker is in "critical condition"? Isn't critical used to describe a life-threatening condition?
posted by PrinceValium at 1:03 PM on August 24, 2002

oog, do you shop at the Cameron Village HT? Turns out the N.C. grocery store with the deli hepatitis problem is the one I buy prepared sushi from. After reading this thread I strolled down to the corner coffeeshop to find the buzz today was all about getting free immune globulin shots. Since I don't log my sushi buys and today's the last day the shots would work on someone infected on August 10, a friend and I decided to go to the health department offering the shots.

Chino-clad Harris Teeter management types with wan smiles handed us hepatitis flyers as we entered the main lobby. There was free bottled water and a $10 grocery gift card for people who actually got the shots. We didn't. The line was insane; it snaked down the stairs and circled the 2nd floor balcony twice before ending in a room filled with citizens scribbling on forms. Upon investigation, it looked like there were only two health department workers processing everyone's forms before they could get shots in groups of 10. One family told us as they left without shots that they'd been waiting in line for four hours. We followed them out. Way to ramp up for a hepatitis scare, Wake County.
posted by mediareport at 1:24 PM on August 24, 2002

I thought the HT response was classy & responsible, myself. They admitted a problem outright, picked up the tab for the shots ($300, I was told), handed out the gift cards and water, and provided free transportation on the hour from the store to spike central & back. Many folks who shop there don't have cars.

Other than a sore butt cheek, I found it all rather amusing. Not that I would want to do it on a weekly basis, mind you. Better safe than sorry, especially if it's free.

Hell I just wish there were more grocery choices in downtown. Hep free, preferably.
posted by yoga at 8:59 AM on August 26, 2002

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