September 16, 2021

Hepatitis A Positive Food Worker at R&M IGA in Eastport, Maine

A hepatitis A positive food worker at the R&M IGA store in Eastport, Maine worked in the deli while infectious for several periods during May 2021, according to a press release from the Maine Centers for Disease Control. Anyone who ordered deli food from that establishment during the time periods stated may be at risk for contracting the virus.

Hepatitis A Positive Food Worker at R&M IGA in Eastport, Maine

The person handled food in the deli at the store, which is located at 88 Washington Street in Eastport, Maine from May 3 to 6, May 8, May 10 to 13, May 15, and May 18-20. Any deli food that was purchased from that store during the time frame of May 3 to 22, 2021 should be discarded or cooked thoroughly to 165°F before consuming.

Epidemiological assessment of the employee found that patrons of the establishment may be at risk. The government is recommending that anyone who ate food prepared there from May 17 to May 22, 2021 get a hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccination as soon as possible. The vaccines are only effective when given within two weeks of exposure.

Unfortunately, that means that anyone who ate deli food from that establishment from May 3 to 16, 2021 can no longer get vaccinated. All those people can do is monitor their health for the symptoms of hepatitis A, which can take up to 50 days to appear, and see their doctor if they do get sick. People are infectious up to two weeks before symptoms even appear, which is one of the ways the illness is spread.

The symptoms of hepatitis A can include fatigue, sudden nausea and vomiting, and abdominal pain, especially in the upper right quadrant,  clay-colored stools, dark urine, a low grade fever, loss of appetite, joint pain, and intense itching. The hallmark symptom of hepatitis A is yellowing of the skin and eyes, known as jaundice.

If you have had hepatitis A or have been vaccinated, you should be immune. Ask your doctor if you aren’t sure.

The best way to prevent the spread of this illness is to get vaccinated. People should also stay home from work or school if they are ill. And always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the bathroom, preparing food, or caring for someone who is sick.

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