In a story not related to the Hawaii hepatitis A outbreak, or the Virginia hepatitis A outbreak, the Missoula City-County Department of Health has announced that an employee at the Good Food Store has tested positive for hepatitis A.
KPAX reports that the Health Department Office Ellen Leahy stated the person did not work “during most of the time that they had symptoms,” but a person is can be spread before they have symptoms. In fact, anyone with this virus is contagious for two weeks before they start feeling sick.
The employee worked preparing foods for the self-serve salad bar, which are not cooked before they are eaten, so they are a good vehicle for contamination. If you ate food from the self-serve salad bar at the Good Food Store between August 15 and September 13, 2016, you may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus.
If you visited that store on or before September 2, 2016, you can still get an immune globulin or hepatitis A vaccination. You can visit the health department to discuss immunization options. If you ate there before September 2, 2016, all you can do is monitor yourself for the symptoms of the illness.
Symptoms of hepatitis A include jaundice, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, dark urine, joint pain, abdominal cramps, and clay colored stools. If you develop these symptoms, please see your doctor or contact the health department at 258-3896 or at 406-258-3500.
To prevent the spread of this illness, which is spread through the fecal-oral route, always wash your hands well with soap and water before preparing food or drink for others. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after you use the bathroom, change diapers, or care for someone who is sick. And stay home from work and school if you are ill, especially if you have a diarrheal illness or the symptoms of hepatitis A.