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Worker with Hepatitis A could have infected coworkers

While workplace injuries can lead to workers throughout the state of North Carolina missing time at work, it is even more common for workers to miss work to recover from illnesses obtained while working. When the illness is serious, and requires a longer period of time to recover, workers may be able to seek workers' compensation benefits. Generally illnesses such as the flu that may have been acquired at work are not included.

Qualifying illnesses can be due to many factors in the workplace having to do with the physical conditions present.

Last month, many individuals, including some restaurant workers, sought treatment for Hepatitis A after another worker reportedly showed up at work while ill with it. So far over 300 individuals have sought vaccines against the illness. The number of individuals exposed to the disease is so high because the worker who had it worked at two establishments-a bar and a restaurant.

The illness is spread through close contact with the ill individuals or the consumption of food and beverages that has been contaminated by that individual. The spread of the disease could possibly be avoided through employees following rules regarding things such as hand washing set by an employer. If left untreated the disease can cause serious damage to the liver. Anyone exposed can possibly avoid becoming ill by obtaining a vaccination within 14 days of exposure.

It is unclear if any of the workers at either the North Carolina restaurant or bar have become ill due to exposure to Hepatitis A. If so, it is possible that workers' compensation benefits could be available to cover the time during which they are recovering from the illness. It is designed to bridge the gap between paychecks while someone is unable to work due to something that occurred at work that should not have.

Source: WBTV, "Hundreds line up for vaccines after Hepatitis scare at local restaurants," Feb. 19, 2013

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