The hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii that is linked to raw scallops imported from the Philippines served at Genki Sushi restaurants has grown by five more this week. That brings the total sickened to 276. All of the cases are in adults. Sixty-eight people have been hospitalized in this outbreak, about 24.6%.
On August 15, 2016, public health officials discovered the hepatitis A virus in Sea Port Bay Scallops (Wild Harvest, Raw Frozen) from the Philippines that were distributed by Koha Oriental Foods and sold at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai.
Food workers at six restaurants and two flight attendants for Hawaiian Airlines have also been diagnosed with this illness. The restaurants and the airline are not the source of this outbreak, and no illnesses have been linked to those facilities. But, anyone who ate at those locations on the dates the ill worker was working may have been exposed to the virus.
Because the incubation period for this illness can be as long as 50 days, there may still be more cases of hepatitis A reported to authorities. In addition, since people are contagious for two weeks before they even start experiencing symptoms, and since the virus is so easily spread from person to person, the outbreak could continue beyond that 50 day point.
The symptoms of hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), clay colored stools, dark urine, fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, weight loss, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Anyone who ate raw scallops at Genki Sushi restaurants before August 15, 2016 and experiences these symptoms should go to a doctor.
Stay home if you have been diagnosed with this illness, or if you have these symptoms, or any diarrheal illness. The best way to prevent the spread of this disease is to stay home, and to wash your hands after using the bathroom and before preparing food for others. If you work in a health care setting, a school, or any type of restaurant or food handling, talk to your doctor before you return to work People in those settings are more likely to transmit this type of infection simply because of the nature of their work.