Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hepatitis a Is Found in Workers at Restaurant Diners at Popular Spot Are Urged to Get Shots

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hepatitis a Is Found in Workers at Restaurant Diners at Popular Spot Are Urged to Get Shots

Article excerpt

Thousands of people who ate at a popular south St. Louis County restaurant will begin lining up today at emergency rooms and a health department clinic for free shots to protect against hepatitis A.

Over the last six days, public health officials have determined that four employees of the restaurant - Bartolino's South, 5914 South Lindbergh Boulevard - have the disease.

Officials are recommending that everyone who ate at the restaurant between Oct. 9 and last Sunday - perhaps as many as 4,000 people - receive an injection of immune globulin, which contains antibodies to the disease. "What we're trying to do is to focus on preventing future cases," said Dr. Linda A. Fisher, medical director of the county Health Department. Hepatitis A can be passed by eating food prepared or handled by an infected person. Among the thousands who will be lining up for an injection is state Sen. Irene Treppler, who is retiring. "That's our favorite eating place," a surprised Treppler said Tuesday afternoon. She had a salad for lunch at Bartolino's South on Oct. 11, then returned with her husband two days later to celebrate her 70th birthday. On Tuesday, Treppler was trying to reach her husband, Walter, who was on a hunting trip in Farmington, Mo. The immune globulin shot must be received within 14 days of exposure to the virus, and it is not commonly available in private doctor's offices. Announcement that the four workers are infected was made as public health officials seek the source of a hepatitis A outbreak in St. Louis County. By Tuesday afternoon, at least 27 cases of the disease had been reported - more than double the expected monthly total. But officials said they had no proof the cases were linked to that restaurant. "I have no cause and effect," said Michael Williams, director of communicable disease control for the county Health Department. "I have an outbreak in south St. Louis County and, in the middle of that, four employees of the restaurant come down with hepatitis A. …

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