April 2, 2020

Hepatitis A in Food Worker at Black Bear Diner on West State St. in Boise, ID

A food service worker at the Black Bear Diner on West State Street in Boise, Idaho has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to the Central Health District in Idaho. That restaurant is located at 7530 West State Street in Boise. The employee only worked at the northwest Boise location. That is under different ownership from the south Boise location of a restaurant that shares the same name.

Hepatitis A in Food Worker at Black Bear Diner on State St. in Boise, ID

The employee worked at the State Street Black Bear Diner on January 26, 30, 31 of 2020, and February 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, and 16 of 2020. Unfortunately, six of those dates: January 26, 30, 31, and February 1, 2, and 6, 2020 are outside the two week window when hepatitis A vaccinations are effective. While the risk of contracting a hepatitis A infection from a food service worker is low, the health department is encouraging anyone who ate at the Diner on those dates to consider getting vaccinated.

Check your vaccine records and health records. If you have been vaccinated, or if you have had a hepatitis A infection you are likely immune. Check with your doctor if you aren’t sure.

If it’s been longer than two weeks, you should monitor your health for the symptoms of hepatitis A for the next 15 to 50 days. That’s how long it can take for symptoms to appear. Not everyone infected with hepatitis A will have all of these symptoms, and some people never develop symptoms. Hepatitis A symptoms include dark urine, clay-colored stools, a fever, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), joint pain, lethargy, and diarrhea. There is no treatment for this illness; it has to run its course. Palliative care can be given, especially if the patient is dehydrated.

There is a statewide hepatitis A outbreak in Idaho that began in early 2019. Since January 1, 2019, there have been 67 cases of hepatitis A in Idaho, with cases limited to the southern part of the state. In 2018, there were only 8 cases of hepatitis A.

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