McDonald’s exposes customers to Hep A

by David Hernandez

Paige Nelson, Photo Editor

Consumers at a McDonald’s restaurant in the College Area may have been exposed to hepatitis A, according to a report released by the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency on Friday.

A McDonald’s employee from the McDonald’s located inside Walmart on 3412 College Ave., was diagnosed with it and may have passed the virus to anyone who ate at the McDonald’s on Aug. 25, 26, 27 or 30 between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m.

According to HHSA, hepatitis A causes inflammation in the liver and is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter from contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by the infected person.

Many people infected with the virus show no symptoms, while others may develop fever, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, pain in the upper right abdomen and yellow skin (jaundice).

San Diego State sophomore Vanessa Gatchalian, a previous employee from the McDonald’s on Montezuma Road, believes in a case like this, not only is the employee at fault, but the company as well.Gatchalian said in the 10-month period she worked at McDonald’s on Montezuma Road, the establishment implemented a variety of sanitary policies.

She also said employees were required to wash their hands for 30 seconds before work, whenever they touched trash or mopped and every time they touched their clothes, face or hair. In addition, sanitizers were readily accessible.

“Food handlers have to keep high standards,” Gatchalian said. “Any restaurant should.”

To make sure employees follow sanitary regulations, Gatchaliansuggests putting cameras by the sink to see who washes their hands and who doesn’t.

Alhough the time period in which hepatitis A can be transmitted is limited and the likelihood of transmission to patrons of the restaurant is low, SDSU Student Health Services suggests post-exposure treatment to those who ate at the McDonald’s on College Ave. on the dates listed.

SDSU Student Health Services is offering students a limited supply of hepatitis A vaccine for $23 and immune globulin for $29. The vaccine is recommended for exposed individuals younger than 40 years old, and a sin- gle dose of immune globulin for those who are older.