December 2, 2016

Two More Hawaiian Food Workers Diagnosed with Hepatitis A

Two more food workers on Oahu, Hawaii, have been diagnosed with hepatitis A. That state is hard hit in an outbreak, with at least 168 people sickened.

Hepatitis A virus

The two newest food workers diagnosed worked at the Papa John’s Waipahu at 94-1021 Waipahu Street on Oahu, and at the New Lin Fong bakery in Chinatown at 1132 Maunakea Street on Oahu. The worker at the Papa John’s was present on July 23-24 and August 2, 2016. The worker at the New Lin Fong bakery was present July 20, 22-23, 25, 27, 29-30, and Aug. 1, 3, and 5-6, 2016. The health department press release stresses that this notice does not indicate that those businesses are sources of the outbreak. No infections have been linked to exposure at these businesses.

The other businesses that have had infected workers include the Baskin Robbins at Waikele Center, Oahu; Chili’s at 590 Farrington Highway in Kapolei on Oahu; Costco Bakery at Hawaii Kai on Oahu, and a flight attendant on Hawaiian Airlines. Workers have also been diagnosed with the illness at Sushi Shiono at the Waikoloa Beach Resort, Queen’s Marketplace at 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive on the island of Hawaii; Taco Bell at 94-790 Ukee Street in Waipio on Oahu; and the Tamashiro Market at 802 N. King Street in Kalihi on Oahu.

The hepatitis A virus is very contagious and is easily passed person to person, through contamianted food and drink, and through contact with surfaces. If you visited any of those businesses on the dates listed on the press release, contact your doctor for advice.

The hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccinations are only good if given within two weeks of exposure. The time frame for vaccinations of all but visitors to the Papa John’s and New Lin Fong bakery have passed; all those people can do is watch for symptoms of hepatitis A and contact their physicians if they do get sick.

The symptoms of hepatitis A include dark urine, clay colored stools, nausea, jaundice, lethargy, weight loss, and loss of appetite. These symptoms usually appear two weeks to 50 days after exposure to the virus.

To prevent further spread of this virus, always wash your hands well after using the bathroom and before preparing food and drink. Stay home if you are sick, especially if you have the symptoms of hepatitis A, and get a vaccination if you have not been exposed.

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