June 28, 2017

Hawaii Hepatitis A Outbreak Grows by One New Case

The hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii linked to imported raw scallops served at Genki Sushi locations has increased by one. As of November 2, 2016, 292 people have been sickened in this outbreak. Seventy-four patients, or 25%, have been hospitalized.

Scallops

Eleven of the patients are residents of the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, or Maui. Seven visitors have returned to the mainland or overseas. All of the remaining patients live on the island of Oahu.

The maximum 50-day incubation period for this outbreak has passed, since the suspect food was embargoed on August 15, 2016. The scallops at the center of this outbreak were Sea Port Bay Scallops from the Philippines served raw at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. Public health investigators found the hepatitis A virus in that product.

Genki Sushi restaurants were closed for weeks after the virus was found in the scallops. They all recently reopened after cleaning and sanitizing.

Some restaurants, along with Hawaiian Airlines, employed people who had hepatitis A during this outbreak. None of those sickened were linked to these restaurants, and the restaurants were not part of this outbreak, according to public health officials. But, since the hepatitis A virus is so contagious, the public was informed about the dates when the sick persons were working.

Symptoms of a hepatitis A infection include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fatigue, weight loss, fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. Most people get sick within two weeks after exposure to the pathogenic virus, but some may take as long as 50 days to show symptoms. Some people never show symptoms but can spread the virus person-to-person.

To prevent the spread of this illness, always wash your hands well after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or taking care of someone who is sick. And always wash your hands well before eating or preparing food or drink for others. If you are sick, stay home from work or school until your doctor gives you the okay that you can return. Hepatitis A can keep someone feeling ill for months. See your doctor for more information.

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