The Hawaii Department of Health is confirming that a food service worker at Zippy’s Restaurant in Oahu has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. That is the eighth restaurant with a contagious food service worker, in the middle of a large hepatitis A outbreak. The restaurant is located at 950 Kamokila Boulevard in Kapolei, Oahu.
None of the restaurants involved are linked to the outbreak. The source was confirmed as frozen scallops, served raw at Genki Sushi restaurants in Hawaii, that were imported from the Philippines. But the virus is very contagious. Any time a food worker is diagnosed with the illness, a large segment of the public could have been exposed to the virus.
The worker was at Zippy’s restaurant on August 14, 2016, and August 18 to the 19th, 2016. Anyone who ate or drank there on those days could have been exposed.
The hepatitis A and immune globulin vaccinations that can prevent illness are only effective if given within two weeks of exposure. That means the time period for getting a shot has passed. If you ate at that restaurant on the dates stated, all you can do is monitor yourself for the symptoms of the illness.
Hepatitis A is very contagious. And people who are infected are contagious for two weeks before they even show any symptoms. So they will work and interact with people while they are contagious.
The symptoms of hepatitis A include lethargy, fatigue, dark urine, jaundice, fever, clay-colored stools, and joint pain. But some people only have a mild flu-like illness, and others may not show any symptoms at all. If you have been potentially exposed to this virus, check with your doctor to see if you are contagious, especially if you work with the public in some capacity.
There is no treatment for hepatitis A; the virus must run its course. Most people recover on their own, but symptoms may last for months; some people can feel ill for as long as six months. And some, especially the elderly and those with liver disease, can become so ill they need to be hospitalized. Anyone with liver disease is more likely to have serious complications with this infection.