September 28, 2022

Hepatitis A Outbreak Includes Target Pharmacy Employee in Alameda Cty

The Townsend Farms hepatitis A outbreak includes a Target pharmacy employee who works in two stores in Alameda County, California: San Leandro and Hayward on Whipple Road, according to the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD). Individuals who were potentially exposed received prescriptions filled by the employee between May 5 and May 24, 2013. They are being notified directly by Target Pharmacy.

townsend-hepatitis“While the risk of transmission from this possible exposure is low, our recommendation was to notify potentially exposed clients to advise that they stop taking the medications that were dispensed during this time and have those replaced with a new supply,“ said Dr. Erica Pan, director of ACPHD’s Division of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention. Customers who received and ingested prescription medications filled by the ill employee should see their health care provider and ask about a hepatitis A vaccination. The vaccine can prevent illness if given within 14 days of exposure.

Hepatitis A  is a virus that is shed in the stools of the infected person. An infected person sheds the most virus and is the most contagious in the two weeks before symptoms, which include yellow skin and eyes, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, dark urine and pale stools, develop.  Symptoms usually take two to seven weeks after exposure to develop. The virus is spread when microscopic amounts of stool are transferred form an infected person’s hands to other items such as food or medications. Thorough hand washing greatly reduces the chances of spreading the virus.

So far, 61 people have been sickened in the outbreak which has been associated with frozen, organic mixed berries sold at Costco and Harris Teeter stores. The berries, which have been recalled, were sold under the brand names Townsend Farms and Harris Teeter.


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