A case of hepatitis A in a bakery employee at a Shop ‘N Kart located in Washington state has been confirmed by the Lewis County Public Health & Social Services Department.
Hepatitis A (HAV) has continued to make headlines as more and more outbreaks are reported across the country. An additional case in a bakery employee at a Shop ‘N Kart located in Chehalis, Washington, was confirmed by the Lewis County Public Health & Social Services Department on Friday.
Danette York, MPH, CPH, Lewis County Public Health & Social Services Director stated, “On Oct. 6, a case of Hepatitis A in a bakery employee was reported to the Health Department.”
Lewis County issued a warning to anyone who had consumed any cakes or cupcakes from the bakery between September 22 and October 6. In order to prevent infection, Ms. York urged those who might have consumed products from the bakery who had not previously been vaccinated for hepatitis A to see their doctor immediately for treatment.
In the notice, the Lewis County Public Health & Social Services Department also warned that those who had consumed items from the bakery between September 8 and September 22 run the risk of also having been exposed and by now, seeking treatment to prevent the infection is no longer an option.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rates of hepatitis A within the country have decreased within the past 40 years. However, due to the fact that HAV is highly contagious and many times patients do not present with any of the telltale symptoms, outbreaks can easily occur. The virus will sometimes not make itself known until 50 days after infection, and by then, individuals who are infected may have already unknowingly transmitted it to others.
Some common symptoms include: exhaustion, loss of appetite, stomach pain/cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or clay-colored stool, and fever, as well as any yellowing of the skin or eyes, according to a press release.
“Shop ‘N Kart contacted public health as soon as they became aware of the infection and have taken every precaution to ensure the safety of their customers. No cases of Hepatitis A associated with the bakery have been reported,” noted Lewis County in the statement.
The CDC states that the best form of prevention is vaccination and recommends that all children receive the hepatitis A vaccine to ensure protection from the infection. It is also recommended that individuals at high risk for infection as well as those traveling to certain countries also receive the vaccination.
Aside from vaccination, handwashing with soap and water throughout the day is key, especially after going to the bathroom and before handling food. You can continue to monitor the outbreak through Contagion’s Outbreak Monitor.