October 23, 2018

Possible Hepatitis A Exposure for Patrons of Tabitha’s Way Food Pantry in Spanish Fork, Utah

Patrons of Tabitha’s Way Local Food Pantry South County in Spanish Fork, Utah may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus. This warning only applies to people who came into contact with or took food that is not canned. That pantry received food from an Olive Garden restaurant where an infected employee worked last month.

Tabitha's Way Food Pantry Hepatitis A

Anyone who visited Tabitha’s Way Food Pantry from Thursday, December 28, 2017 through Wednesday, January 3, 2018 may have been exposed to this pathogenic virus. The questionnaire by the Utah Department of Health asks if you ate any food or drank any beverages (non-packaged) or used the restroom at that location.

If so, and if you have not had a hepatitis A vaccination, you are asked to fill out contact information on that site. Your local health department will contact you within two days.

Unfortunately, if you were at Tabitha’s Way Food Pantry on December 28, it’s too late for an immune globulin or hepatitis A vaccination. If you visited that facility on December 29, you must be vaccinated today. The vaccines are only effective if given within two weeks of exposure. Contact the health department, your healthcare provider for the vaccine. Vaccinations are usually also available at pharmacies.

If you have not been vaccinated in time, all you can do is monitor yourself for the symptoms of hepatitis A. Those symptoms include jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), lethargy and fatigue, loss of appetite, clay-colored stools, dark urine, a low grade fever, joint pain, and intense itching. If these symptoms do develop, see your doctor.

Most people get sick within 15 days to 50 days after they are exposed to the virus. It’s important to know that the first two weeks after infection, before symptoms appear, patients are contagious.

Anyone who works with the public, including health care workers, teachers and others at schools, and restaurant employees, should consider being vaccinated against this virus. There are several large hepatitis A outbreaks around the country that have sickened thousands of people. Several people have died.

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