August 10, 2020

Hepatitis A Outbreak Associated With Señor Moose in Seattle Sickens 3, Hospitalizes 1

A hepatitis A outbreak is associated with the Señor Moose restaurant in Seattle, Washington. At  least 3 people are sick; one of those patients is hospitalized, according to a press release issued by King County Public Health. Consumers who allegedly ate at that restaurant have been experiencing jaundice, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever, which are the typical symptoms of this viral illness. That restaurant is located at 5242 Leary Avenue Northwest in Seattle.

Señor Moose Hepatitis A Outbreak in Seattle Sickens 3

Public Health started learning of cases on April 15, 2020. Those sickened ate at Señor Moose restaurant on February 24 and February 26, 2020. There is no indication that any current employees of the restaurant are sick with hepatitis A. Public health is contacting former employees to see if any oof them have been ill.

The incubation period between being infected and showing symptoms can be as long as 50 days. Most people are infectious for two weeks before they start feeling sick, so they can spread the illness without even knowing they are ill. The infection can be passed person-to-person, through contaminated food and drink, and through touching contaminated surfaces.

There is a hepatitis A outbreak in Washington state, mostly concentrated among homeless people. None of the three hepatitis A cases associated with this outbreak have any connection to people experiencing homemlsssleess or anyone who use drugs.

Genetic testing of isolates from the three cases are pending at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to see if they match the local outbreak strains.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help if you have been diagnosed with a hepatitis A infection or another foodborne illness by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Environmental Health investigators had a teleconference with restaurant managers on April 16, 2020. Officials reviewed food handling practices, illness policies, employee schedules, employee health, facility cleaning, and sanitizing and disinfection procedures with management. The restaurant was closed for cleaning on April 17, 2020. The business reopened on April 20, 2020.

Public health is continuing surveillance for more cases by reviewing new and previously reported hepatitis A cases and foodborne illness complaints. There is no mention about recommending hepatitis A vaccinations to anyone who may have eaten at that restaurant during the time frame when people may have gotten sick. At any rate, it’s too late for vaccinations now: they are only effective when given within two weeks of exposure.

If you have eaten at that restaurant and have experienced the symptoms of hepatitis A, see your doctor. You may be part of this outbreak.

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