State reports possible case of hepatitis A in Mapunapuna restaurant employee

The Hawaii Department of Health is investigating another possible case of hepatitis A involving a restaurant worker.

Health officials say the individual worked as a food service employee at Wah Kung Restaurant on Mapunapuna Street during the potential infectious period from Dec. 1, 2017 to Jan. 6, 2018.

DOH advises persons who consumed food or beverages from this establishment during the identified period to:

  1. Contact their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (IG), which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure (i.e., within two weeks of consuming food or beverages at or from this restaurant).
  2. Monitor their health for symptoms of hepatitis A infection up to 50 days after exposure.
  3. Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
  4. Stay at home and contact their healthcare provider immediately if symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop.

At this time, health officials say no infections have been linked to exposure at this business. They are providing the information to prevent possible new cases.

“Given the clinical and laboratory findings, we suspect this individual may be infected with hepatitis A,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “Because of the limited two-week window to prevent infection among those potentially exposed, we are alerting the public as a precaution. We encourage people to take appropriate action to protect their health and prevent possible new cases in our community.”

The virus is found in the stool of people with hepatitis A infection and is usually spread through close personal or sexual contact as well as by consuming contaminated food or drinking water.

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes.

Health officials say vaccination provides the best protection. The public should frequently wash hands with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing food to help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

Click here for more information about hepatitis A.

Click here to locate a vaccinating pharmacy or clinic, or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

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