Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Utah Hepatitis A Outbreak: Health Department Issues Vaccination Notice

Not Released Utah Hepatitis A Outbreak: Health Department Issues Vaccination Notice
Ben Pena | 10 January, 2018, 02:13

Brandis is fielding calls after a 7-Eleven store employee was found to have hepatitis A and was at risk of infecting customers between December 26 and January 2.

Thousands of customers who frequent a 7-Eleven location in West Jordan, Utah, are being warned by health officials about a possible hepatitis A exposure at the store.

Customers who consumed any packaged items from the store, including bottled drinks and microwaved foods, are not at risk for exposure and do not need to contact the heath department, officials said.

The health department states that people who need the vaccine must receive it soon after their exposure for it to be effective.

"While the infected 7-Eleven employee is epistemologically linked to the outbreak, there are so far no cases of illness tied to the store", they said.

7-Eleven didn't respond to a request from CSD for a comment on the situation, or the course of action the company is now pursuing.

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"This is an important reminder to food service establishments that they should consider vaccinating their food-handling employees against hepatitis A", said Salt Lake County Health Department executive director Gary Edwards in a statement. The phone line will be staffed from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m. beginning Monday, and health department staff will screen callers for exposure risk and provide them with options for receiving a prophylactic hepatitis A vaccine, health officials said.

Based on the store's average sales, the health department estimates as many as 2,000 people may have been exposed.

7-Eleven is cooperating with health officials, the health department said, and has since sanitized the store.

"It's also important the food handlers be conscientious with hygiene, hand washing and not working when ill - and that managers be vigilant in enforcing those important requirements that protect public health".

The hepatitis A virus can be prevented through vaccine.

Hepatitis A can cause mild to severe illness. The virus is especially hard to kill and can live for months outside the body, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In rare cases, hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death; this is more common in people older than 50 and in people with other liver diseases.

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