Panic at the prom: Hundreds of Florida students may have been exposed to hepatitis A by an infected worker at their school dance
- An employee at Silverthorn Country Club in Florida was diagnosed with Hhepatitis A
- The liver infection can be spread from person to person through oral contact with fecal matter or through contaminated food
- Two high schools, Central and Springstead, held their proms at the country club while the employee was working there, potentially exposing hundreds
Hundreds of students at two Florida high schools are on high alert for hepatitis A symptoms after an employee at their prom venue was diagnosed with the infection.
One person working at Silverthorn Country Club Restaurant was diagnosed with the liver infection – but not until after both Springstead High School and Central High School had their proms there.
The infected employee was working at Silverthorn’s restaurant between April 12 and 30, and one prom was held there on April 13 and another on the 27th.
Health officials are scrambling to spread the word to students get tested and vaccinated and parents are outraged by the possible exposures.
Hundreds of Florida students may have been exposed to hepatitis A by an infected worker at the venue where two high schools held their proms last month (file image)
Florida has been having a hepatitis A problem recently.
Since January 20 of last year, 385 people cases of the liver infection have been reported in the state, and its health department says that’s three times higher than annual averages for the previous five years.
Hepatitis A is usually transmitted from person to person when fecal matter from infected person is ingested by another, or when people eat or drink something contaminated.
Good hand-washing practices typically prevent its transmission.
So the presence of an employee with the infection in a venue that serves food is particularly worrisome.
The schools – which have over 3,000 students between them – shared info from the local Hernando Health department, encouraging students to get hepatitis A vaccinations, as they would defend against infection if they’re given within two weeks of exposure.
Hepatitis A can present with fatigue, abdominal pain, dark urine diarrhea, fever, discolored stool and jaundice.
Hernando county has already had 39 cases of hepatitis this year, but, so far, there have been no reports that any students are positive.
Students and their families are nonetheless (and unsurprisingly) upset.
‘The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. You don’t wash your hands after you go to the bathroom? I wash like a surgeon every time,’ Cathy Czyr, whose son went to prom at Silverthorn last month, told News Channel 8.
Student Alyssa Fiorvante said: ‘It’s just unbelievable. It’s crazy to think that because all these people have to go out of their way because they were eating and drinking their food.’