Brand Damage Grossly Exceeds Out-of-pocket Immune Globulin Treatment Costs
The first punch … Handwashing. Missed hand washes are frequently at the heart of Hep A outbreaks in Foodservice and Healthcare settings, especially in restaurants and nursing homes. Infected food handlers, including caregivers, commonly transfer this highly contagious pathogen.
Fecal-hand-oral is the primary transmission path. Most infections result from direct contact or contact with surfaces and food contaminated by the ill worker. Handwashing is the primary intervention. Investment in verifiable handwashing systems motivate worker compliance and are far less expensive than the costs of an outbreak.
The asymptomatic (no symptoms) profile of hep A makes it impossible to keep contaminated individuals out of the workforce. Jaundice does make exclusion easier but you may well be too late to avoid an outbreak. Infected workers are likely shedding pathogens many days or even weeks prior. Hepatitis A is most contagious before symptoms appear. A documented handwashing program is the best daily defense.
The second punch …. Vaccination. Much of the hospitality workforce in the USA miss the school-age programs. A foreign national foodservice worker from a country without a childhood immunization program can easily pick up the disease from others within the hosting household or during home country visits. This graph dramatically shows what Clark County (Las Vegas) achieved by implementing a thorough vaccine system as part of food handler certification program.