By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
SOUTHGATE – Downriver Coney Island, 13760 Eureka, is open for business after passing a Wayne County Department of Health inspection following a case of Hepatitis A reported in a short-term employee.
The WCDH reported that a person who had worked at the restaurant tested positive for Hepatitis A last weekend. The restaurant was inspected Jan. 23, with no violations found.
One employee, who had not worked the same shift as the individual in question, was vaccinated on Jan. 24. All other employees already had been vaccinated against Hepatitis A prior to the incident, co-owner Julius Camaj said.
Co-owner Tori Camaj Taylor said the person only worked two midnight shifts, and neither cooked nor handled food.
“They were not in charge of cooking or preparing anyone’s food,” Taylor said. “They never put anyone at risk.”
Carol Austerberry of the WCDH said that every local health department receives reports from the state when residents have reportable diseases, of which Hepatitis A is one.
“The public health department conducts these investigations,” Austerberry said. “There were no violations cited on the Jan. 23 visit.”
Camaj was not surprised.
“In the five years that we have been here, and you can check this with the Wayne County Health Department, we have never had one violation and we have never had one person call in to them with a complaint,” Camaj said. “They came through and gave it a thorough inspection, and said, ‘Fabulous. Sorry for your bad luck.’”
“It was just the wrong hiring of one employee,” Taylor said.
WCDH said in a press release issued Jan. 24 that anyone who ate at the restaurant between Jan. 2 and 14 should watch for symptoms of Hepatitis A, which can include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, clay-colored stool, fever, chills, and the yellow skin and eyes associated with jaundice. The symptoms appear 15 to 50 days after exposure, and can last for several weeks or months, and can be fatal.
The department also said a vaccine administered with 14 days of exposure can prevent the illness. In addition, the WCHD urges all residents to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. Those without insurance coverage can be vaccinated at the WCHD clinic at 33030 Van Born Road in Wayne.
For more information about Hepatitis A, call WCDH at 734-727-7078 or go to michigan.gov.hepatitisaoutbreak.
Camaj urges everyone to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A.
“It’s a simple shot and it lasts your whole life,” Camaj said.
Taylor said any restaurant or store can have an employee unknowingly expose customers to Hepatitis A.
“Now we are the safest restaurant Downriver,” Taylor said. “We have been thoroughly inspected and every single employee in my building has had the Hepatitis A shot, and any future employee will be required to have the Hepatitis A shot.”
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])