The state Department of Health reported Saturday that it has confirmed an additional case of hepatitis A in an Oahu food service worker.
The infected case is an employee at McDonald’s of Kahala, located at 4618 Kilauea Avenue in Honolulu. Affected dates of service are Sept. 20–21, 23–24, 27–29, and Oct. 1, 4–5, 7, and 11, 2016.
“This case was identified and reported to us later in their illness, but had their symptom onset within the 50-day maximum incubation period from the date the scallops were embargoed,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “The department will continue to investigate all reported cases of hepatitis A and remain alert for other late-presenting cases as well as secondary cases.”
The likelihood that patrons of this business will become infected is very low. Most people do not get sick when an employee at a restaurant has Hepatitis A. However, if an infected food handler is infectious and has poor hygiene, the risk goes up for patrons of that restaurant. DOH is providing information on food handlers to the public as a precaution and in an attempt to prevent any new cases.
To date, DOH has confirmed a total of 241 cases of hepatitis A as part of this outbreak investigation. Updated case counts and information are provided each Wednesday along with a complete list of food service establishments who have had employees diagnosed with hepatitis infection within the past 50 days at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016.
If a person is exposed to the virus, symptoms of hepatitis A infection may appear up to 50 days after exposure.
Vaccination provides the best protection from hepatitis A, so any person who consumed food or beverage products prepared or served at this business during the identified periods may want to contact their healthcare providers about receiving a vaccine or immune globulin (IG). This may provide some protection against the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure. A statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies can be found at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf or by calling the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.
Help prevent the spread of hepatitis A by washing your hands often and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food. For more information on proper handwashing, click here.