January 19, 2020

Hawaii Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Scallops Rises to 271

The hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii that is linked to raw scallops imported from the Philippines has increased to 271 people sick. That is an increase of 19 new cases in the last week. All of those sickened have been adults. Sixty-eight people have been hospitalized because their illnesses are so severe. Onset of illness dates have ranged from 6/12/16 to 9/4/16.


Investigators found the hepatitis A virus in raw Sea Port Bay Scallops from the Philippines that were served at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. The scallops were imported by Kohn Oriental Foods and distributed in that state. The scallops have been embargoed and are no longer being sold.

But the incubation period of this illness is quite long, up to 50 days, and is easily spread person to person. That means this outbreak will most likely continue to grow for a while, especially since an infected person is contagious for two weeks before symptoms appear, so they will continue to go to work and school. And some people who are infected never show any symptoms at all.

The symptoms of a hepatitis A infection include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, fever, muscle aches, dark urine, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and clay-colored stools. Most people recover on their own after this infection, but it can take months to return to normal and chronic tiredness can be a problem. Those who are most likely to suffer complications from this illness include the elderly and anyone with a chronic illness or especially liver disease.

If you experience these symptoms, especially if you ate at Genki Sushi restaurants before August 15, 2016, see your doctor. People who ate there before that date could still show symptoms as late as October 5, 2016.

The best way to prevent the spread of this illness is to practice good hygiene. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the bathroom, after changing diapers, and after taking care of someone who is ill. Always wash your hands well before preparing food for other or serving food to others. And stay home from work or school if you are sick.

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