Carroll Co. health officials order more hepatitis vaccine

September 26, 1998|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Overwhelmed by public response to a case of hepatitis A at an Eldersburg fast-food restaurant, Carroll County health officials have ordered additional doses of an antibody that helps prevent the liver disease.

About 300 people lined up during the first two hours of an impromptu clinic yesterday to receive free shots of immune globulin (IG). On Thursday, 1,118 people received shots at Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville, health officials said.

"We had to order more vaccine as a margin of safety," said Dr. Janet Neslen, the county's deputy health officer.

The county also added four nurses and a pediatrician yesterday to accommodate the crowd.

Officials said that only one person, the former Wendy's employee to whom the virus was traced, has tested positive for hepatitis A.

The employee was diagnosed Monday at Carroll County General Hospital, a day before health officials issued a public plea to customers of the restaurant. Health officials recommended that anyone who ate at the Wendy's between Sept. 8 and 12 receive shots.

Hepatitis A, carried in human feces, is often a food-borne disease associated with poor hygiene, said David M. Portesi, a public health expert in the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Initially, Neslen said, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta "had approved a shipment of 2,500 vials of IG, and we had to order 1,500 more."

Pub Date: 9/26/98

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