December 14, 2017

Hepatitis A Exposure From Fruit Vendor in Los Angeles County CA

Consumers may have been exposed to hepatitis A from produce that may have been contaminated by a worker at a street-side fruit vendor, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The fruit vendor was located on the corner of W Ave L and 20th Street West, in Lancaster, CA. Anyone who bought fruit from the vendor’s fruit cart at this location from August 15 through August 22, 2017 may be at risk for hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A Definition

Anyone who purchased food from this vendor on August 22, 2017 should receive a hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccination today. If you purchased fruit from that location before August 22, it’s too late to get a shot. Instead, you should monitor yourself for the symptoms of hepatitis A. A vaccination is only effective if given within two weeks of exposure.

Public Health will offer free vaccinations at the Antelope Valley Public Health Center from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. beginning Tuesday, September 5, 2017 for anyone who may have been exposed. That center is located at 335-B East Avenue K6 in Lancaster, CA.

Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County said, “We are actively investigating this situation. It is important that anyone who may have bought or consumed fruit from this vendor during the period of August 15 through August 22 should contact their doctor to discuss possible hepatitis A prevention and treatment options. Those who purchased this product should discard any remaining fruit if still found in their home.”

Officials think that this infected person may be linked to the huge hepatitis A outbreak affecting people in San Diego and Santa Cruz counties. Most of those cases are in people who are homeless, use illicit drugs, or people who provide services to the homeless. The worker diagnosed with hepatitis A had spent time in San Diego.

Los Angeles Public Health has confirmed three cases of hepatitis A among high-risk people who lived in San Diego during the exposure period, as well as three secondary cases in a health facility. There have not been any new cases associated with the fruit cart.

The hepatitis A virus causes acute liver disease and is transmitted through feces of an infected person. The symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, lethargy, dark urine, clay-colored stools, loss of appetite, nausea, and stomach pain, followed by jaundice.

People are usually sick for a month or more, although some people can be ill for months. If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor.

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