Hepatitis concerns brings new calls for county board of health

Hepatitis concerns brings new calls for county board of health

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - According to county officials, the response was prompt.

The Hepatitis A problem tracked to an infected employee at Hardees on Little Rock and clinics opened not long after.

However, the Mecklenburg County Health Department's action plan in this case isn't sitting well with some county commissioners.

Commissioner Jim Puckett feels a new county board of health is strongly needed rather than putting much of responsibility of setting up clinics in the hands of local commissioners and the county manager.

"I don't know if we reacted quick enough or if we took the adequate amount of time to get the information out," he said.  "We're not health professionals and that's one of the reasons why I want to change the governance. Reestablish a local board of health that would have this type of oversight."

Past episodes involving public health issues is what Commissioner Pat Cotham is speaking to going back to the death of teen infected by a brain eating amoeba at the U.S. Whitewater Center in 2015.

She also points out the last year's mishandling of pap smear results, and now the incident of Hepatitis and Hardees.

RELATED: Hardee's patrons possibly exposed to Hepatitis A line up for free vaccine, hundreds vaccinated

Cotham favors a new over site board.

"I would want that. I think our community deserves that," she said.

Health Director Gibbie Harris gives the clinics high marks,

Harris told reporters, "This is what public health does. We respond to issues like this. We have systems in place to  make this happen."

Commissioner Puckett is firm in changing the departments organizational structure.

He said, "What I want to see is a board of health made up of health professionals.

According to county officials another 4,000 Hepatitis A vaccines are headed to Charlotte, and the clinics could go through the weekend.

Copyright 2018 WBTV. All rights reserved.