Hepatitis scare at New Zealand McDonald's restaurant

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

McDonald's is asking everyone who ate at a McDonald's restaurant located in Greenlane, Auckland, New Zealand, in December 15, 2006, to go to their doctor after a worker tested positive for Hepatitis A.

Doctor Greg Simmons, medical officer of health in Auckland, said that it is possible for the food handler worker to have passed on the disease during 7:00 p.m. (NZDT) and 2:00 a.m. as he would have been in the most infectious stage of Hepatitis A and was not wearing gloves. According to a spokeswoman from McDonald's, Joanna Redfern-Hardisty, food handlers are not required to wear gloves but are required to have thoroughly washed their hands with antimicrobial soap. However Dr Simmons says that the infected worker usually wore gloves.

The shift the worker worked was the only one the worker handled food when he was infectious with Hepatitis A.

It is unknown how many people could have come into contact with food that the infected worker had prepared as Friday night is usually a busy night, according to Ms Redfern-Hardisty.

Dr Simmons says that if someone has been infected with Hepatitis A then they will currently be showing early symptoms. Those symptoms include being tired, no appetite, nausea and skin and eyes will show a yellowish colour.

Ms Redfern-Hardisty, spokeswoman for McDonald's, confirmed that no more risk is being posed to customers. She said that it is currently unknown where the worker caught Hepatitis A but has stated that it was from an external source.

The worker has been suspended from work.

If you ate at the McDonalds located in Greenlane, Auckland, on late December 15, early December 16, then please either visit your doctor or ring the Auckland Regional Public Health Service on 096234600.