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Vigilance is vital when it comes to health and safety. That lesson is being heard loud and clear by the nation’s public health experts as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported wide-scale outbreaks of Hepatitis A in several states in 2019, including Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Texas and Indiana.

It’s a disturbing trend as strong immunization campaigns reduced cases of Hep A by 96 percent between 1996 and 2011. However, a variety of factors has contributed to an increase in Hepatitis A cases once again. The CDC calls the most recent outbreaks, first noted in 2016, unprecedented, especially as most cases come from person-to-person spread.

To shed light on this critical public health and safety issue, the CDC has designated May as Hepatitis Awareness Month and has targeted May 19 as a day to get tested.

man in restaurant bar

Symptoms include nausea and stomach pain

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. It is highly contagious and is often spread through contaminated food or water, typically from poor hygiene.

The symptoms of Hepatitis A include nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, tiredness and muscle soreness. The symptoms may be confused with a mild case of the flu so testing is important. It can last up to several days and in severe cases, has caused death, especially in those with weakened immune systems. Kentucky has seen close to 50 deaths since its outbreak began in 2017.

Because it is a vaccine-preventable disease, the CDC recommends that adults — especially those in food service due to the risk of spreading the disease through contaminated food or water, as well as infants (recommended between 12 to 23 months), children and the elderly — get immunized.

The BioIQ Solution

Today’s immunization programs are designed to be cost-effective, convenient and efficient. BioIQ provides programs for the restaurant industry that offer free and simple immunizations for workers. All employees need to do is take an immunization card to a pharmacy at a major retailer they likely routinely visit anyway for their free Hepatitis A vaccination.

The BioIQ program is one that keeps workers and their communities healthy and safe from what can be a devastating illness. Not only are people affected, but when an outbreak hits, even thriving and successful restaurant chains can lose millions of dollars or be forced to close.

Remember, prevention is easy, cost-effective and the right step for health plans, employers, states and municipalities – just a simple immunization campaign can prevent the disease.

For tips on how to implement fast and effective Hepatitis A immunization programs, check out BioIQs’ brief video with information and tips.

For more information on Hepatitis Awareness Month – see the latest from the CDC.

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