Disney Restaurant Employee May Have ‘Shed' Hepatitis A

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Disney Orlando reported with hepatitis A
roller coaster at sunset

An employee at the Disney World Fort Wilderness Resort restaurant was determined to have worked while infectious with the Hepatitis A virus. 

According to ClickOrlando on January 28, 2019, the Disney employee worked at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.  

That restaurant was thoroughly cleaned and sanitized after Disney officials became aware of the employee's diagnosis. 

Food handlers play a critical role in preventing the spread of foodborne hepatitis. Ready-to-eat foods can be contaminated when handled by a person who is shedding the virus, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).   

Given the hepatitis virus long incubation period, people who may have been exposed should be alert for early warning signs of the disease.     

Disney told the TV station it would be launching extra safety measures and making hepatitis A vaccines available to all employees. 

Disney World spokeswoman Erica Ettori said in an email the employee hasn’t worked at the restaurant since being diagnosed and won’t return until being cleared by the FDOH. 

During December 2018, 147 hepatitis A cases were reported by 22 counties, reports the Florida Department of Health (FDOH). 95% of these infected people had not received the hepatitis A vaccine. 

From January 2018 through December 31, 2018, 559 hepatitis A cases were reported in 31 Florida counties. The case counts in 2018 are more than double the case counts in the last 5 years, says the FDOH. 

According to the CDC, as of December 15, 2018, there were 10,582 confirmed hepatitis A cases in the USA.     

The 3 largest groups affected by the ongoing, multi-state, Hepatitis A virus outbreak are intravenous drug users, the homeless, and men who have participated in sexual activities with other men. 

Additionally, food-service workers represent another sizable, at-risk population since their daily responsibilities include directly handling food and drink, said the CDC. 

In 2015, a study conducted by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration found the food services and hospitality industry to have the highest rates of substance use disorders of all employment sectors.     

To prevent the spreading of hepatitis, the CDC says there are 2 brands of hepatitis A vaccines available, which are interchangeable. 

  • Two monovalent hepatitis A vaccines, Vaqta and Havrix, are approved for people older than 1 year of age in a 2-dose series. 
  • And, Twinrix is a combined hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine approved for people older than 18 years of age in the USA. 

The CDC Vaccine Price List displays current hepatitis vaccine contract prices and general information.

And, hepatitis vaccine discounts can be found here. 

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.