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Hepatitis A Continues to Spread in the United States

SEP 19, 2016 | KRISTI ROSA
Since then, the number of cases of hepatitis A linked with raw scallops continues to rise as more locations are linked with the contaminated food products. Among the establishments are: Papa Johns, Oahu, on Waipahu Street, and New Lin Fong bakery in Chinatown on Oahu. However, as of yesterday an additional case of the infection was confirmed in an Ohana food service worker in the Sam’s Club located in Pearl City, according to a recent press release. The Hawaii DOH has reported 271 confirmed cases of hepatitis A in Hawaii, so far, and they’re expecting more every day.

State Epidemiologist, Dr. Sarah Park, MD, FAAP, commented, “We expect to continue seeing new cases of hepatitis A infection through at least early October because of the long incubation period of this illness, even though the source of the outbreak has been identified as contaminated scallops. While this case involves a food handler working with raw seafood, the food handler is another victim, and none of the products sold by Ohana Seafood at Sam’s Club have been identified as a source of the ongoing outbreak.”

The Hawaii DOH reminds the public that they will continue to provide further information about the outbreak every Wednesday. Their website includes a list of food establishments that have reported contaminated food products, a list of all the different pharmacies in the state that provide vaccination opportunities, as well as prevention guidance.

The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is vaccination, according to the CDC; they attribute the overall decrease in the number of hepatitis A cases throughout the last decade to vaccination efforts. In addition to recommending the vaccine be administered as a part of childhood vaccination series, the CDC also stress the importance of proper hand hygiene; washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water throughout the day, especially when dealing with food or after using the bathroom.

Anyone who has consumed any of the contaminated products mentioned here, or are exhibiting symptoms (such as pale stool, stomach pain, or yellowing of the skin or eyes) should seek immediate medical attention.
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