June 25, 2017

Hepatitis A Illnesses Linked to Whole Foods in Detroit, MI

Two cases of hepatitis A have been linked to Whole Foods Market at 115 Mack in Detroit, Michigan, according to the Detroit Health Department. News reports state that the illnesses are linked to the prepared foods section. That section includes the salad bar, pizza station, hot and cold delis, and packaged meals.
Hepatitis A

One ill person is an employee who handles prepared food at the store, and the other ate prepared food purchased at that store. Public health officials do not know how each person contracted the illness, but are saying that anyone who may have eaten food purchased at the prepared foods section at that particular store on October 6 through October 12, 2016 may have been exposed to the virus. No other cases have been reported to date.

It’s now too late for people who ate there on October 6, 2016 to get the hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccination, but anyone who consumed prepared food at the Whole Foods Market on those days should talk to their doctors about getting a hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccination. Today is the last day for anyone potentially exposed on October 7 to get a shot.

Dr. Abudul El-Sayed, executive director and health officer at the Detroit Health Department released a statement about this issue. He said, “while it remains unclear exactly how either of these individuals contracted Hepatitis A, and we know that Whole Foods Market Detroit has a comprehensive food safety protocol, we want to do our best to protect our residents and those of surrounding communities who may have been exposed.”

The Detroit Health Department is providing preventative vaccinations at two clinics. They are open 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday through October 26, 2016.  The clinic locations are at the Samaritan Center at 5555 Conner, and the Family Place at 8726 Woodward.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a virus. Symptoms of this illness include jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), dark urine, clay-colored stools, fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, fever, nausea, vomiting, and muscle aches. Symptoms usually begin 15 to 50 days after exposure. While most people recover, even though they may be sick for weeks or months, some do become seriously ill.

To prevent the spread of this illness, stay home from work or school if you are sick. See your doctor if you are experiencing the symptoms of hepatitis A. And always wash your hands well with soap and water after using the bathroom, after taking care of someone who is sick, and before preparing food or drink.

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