September 30, 2016

Another Hawaii Food Worker Diagnosed with Hepatitis A

Another food worker in Hawaii has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. A person who worked at Tamashiro Market at 802 North King Street in Kalihi on the island of Oahu is sick with the viral illness. The market closed on August 5, 2016 and will reopen when employees are tested and cleared.

Hepatitis A virus

That person worked in the fish market on July 2, 4, 6-8, 11-13, 15-19, and 23, 2016. If you purchased food at that market on those dates, please contact your healthcare provider for advice. The hepatitis A and immune globulin shots are only effective if given within two weeks of exposure to the virus. That means if you visited Tamashiro Market,  on the days the worker was there, you are no longer eligible for the vaccination.

All you can do is watch for symptoms of hepatitis A, which usually appear two weeks to 50 days after exposure. Those symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored stools, and jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin and eyes. Anyone with these symptoms should stay home from work, especially if you are in the healthcare or food service professions. If you do get sick, please see your doctor.

Tamashiro Market, along with the other six facilities where infected food handlers worked, is not being blamed for the outbreak in Hawaii, which has sickened at least 135 people this summer. No single establishment has been blamed for the outbreak.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said in a statement, “Tamashiro Market is not at fault for this. But given that much of what is sold there is typically prepared and purchased raw, it is important to inform the public of possible exposure. This business understands that public health is our primary concern, and they have been working with us to help prevent new cases.”

If you visited the market on the above dates, or visited any of the businesses where food handlers have been diagnosed with this illness, you can help stop the outbreak. Anyone who is infected with the virus is contagious up to two weeks before symptoms appear. So wash your hands carefully with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or caring for someone who is ill. Always wash your hands well before preparing or serving food to someone.

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