Hepatitis A Information

hepatitisa1Oakland County Jail officials are warning inmates incarcerated there earlier this month that they may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

A male prisoner in the jail tested positive for the virus, an infection of the liver which can lead to liver failure in people with a weak immune system. It’s caused by a virus expelled in feces and most often spread person to person by contaminated hands.

The sheriff’s office is advising anyone detained in the jail between May 8-23 to contact the county health division to determine potential exposure.

Bouchard said jail officials already have sanitized the areas where the inmate was housed and begun contacting anyone who might have come in contact with him.

Hepatitis A symptoms may appear from two to six weeks after exposure and include sudden abdominal pain, fever, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, headache, dark urine, light-colored bowel movements and vomiting.

“Hepatitis A is contagious, but can be prevented with vaccination if given within 14 days of last exposure,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, a county health officer.

Forty-two hepatitis A cases have been reported in the San Diego region since November 2016, more than four times the monthly average typically reported, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

Thirty-six people were hospitalized and two died from the disease.  Twenty-three cases are men, and the cases range in age from 26 to 72 years, with an average age of 42 years.  Twenty-nine cases have a history of substance abuse, and 27 are homeless.  Five people became ill with hepatitis A after traveling outside the United States.  No common sources of infection have been identified, and investigations are still continuing.

“The County is working closely with the local health community to increase outreach to vulnerable populations to raise awareness and promote hepatitis A vaccination,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer.  “Those at risk are urged to talk to their health care providers and get vaccinated for hepatitis A.”

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease. While the hepatitis A vaccine is recommended as part of the routine childhood vaccination schedule, most adults have not been vaccinated and may be susceptible to the hepatitis A virus.

Two doses of hepatitis A vaccine are recommended for:

  • All children (first dose of vaccine between 12 months and 23 months of age, and the second dose six to 18 months later)
  • Travelers to countries that have higher rates of hepatitis A (high-risk areas include parts of Africa and Asia, and moderate risk areas include Central and South America, Eastern Europe, and parts of Asia)
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Users of injection and non-injection illegal drugs
  • Homeless people who are living outdoors
  • Household or sexual contacts of hepatitis A patients
  • People with chronic liver diseases, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis B or hepatitis C
  • Family members or caregivers of a recent adoptee from countries where hepatitis A is common
  • People who are treated with clotting-factor concentrates

Symptoms of hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, and light-colored stools.  Symptoms usually appear over a number of days and last less than two months.  However, some people can be ill for as long as six months. Hepatitis A can sometimes cause liver failure and death.

At least 71 people in Europe have been sickened with Hepatitis A in an outbreak believed to be linked to frozen berries served in smoothies, according to the latest report from Eurosurveillance. That’s an increase of 15 cases since Food Safety News first reportedon the outbreak April 17.

There are at least 35 people sickened in Denmark, and another 36 sickened between Finland, Norway and Sweden. Swedish authorities say the country is experiencing ten times the normal number of Hepatitis A cases so far this year.

Most case patients reported consuming berries or smoothies around the time of exposure, but investigators have not identified a specific brand or berry origin.

This is the first foodborne Hepatitis A outbreak of nordic origin, Eurosurveillance said.

Due to Hepatitis A’s incubation range of 15 to 50 days, and the delay involved in reporting the disease, authorities expect more illnesses to surface in the coming weeks.

sushiThe Hawaii State Department of Health has ordered all Oahu and Kauai Genki Sushi Restaurants to close for business immediately.  The Department of Health has determined the Hepatitis A outbreak on Oahu is likely due to imported frozen scallops served raw at Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. The restaurants have been closed tonight to prevent any further illness and protect the public.

As of Wednesday, the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) has identified 33 new cases of Hepatitis A, bringing the total to 168.

All cases have been adults with 46 requiring hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu.

Eight individuals now live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.

Onset of illness has ranged between June 12th to August 1st.

The Health Department is eying poke as one of dozens of possible culprits, but health officials stressed the investigation remains preliminary.

AP reports that the state Department of Health is investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A on Oahu.

The department said Friday there are at least 12 cases of hepatitis A infection in adults. Six of them have required hospitalization.

Onsets of the illnesses range from June 16 through June 27.

Health officials say the virus can be spread by eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, close personal contact or sex. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, appetite loss, abdominal discomfort and diarrhea.

Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler says it’s a vaccine-preventable disease. She says that while it’s a routine childhood vaccination, many adults haven’t been vaccinated and remain susceptible.

The vaccine is readily available at local pharmacies.

4KWSlaRThe hepatitis A virus can trigger acute liver inflammation which generally has a mild course in small children but which can become dangerous in adults. The virus, which is found worldwide, has previously been considered to be a purely human pathogen, which at most is found in isolated cases in non-human primates. An international team of researchers under the direction of the University of Bonn has now discovered in a large-scale study with nearly 16,000 specimens from small mammals from various continents that the hepatitis A virus – like HIV or Ebola as well – is of likely animal origin. The results currently appear in the renowned journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

An infection with the hepatitis A virus can trigger acute inflammation of the liver, which generally does not cause any symptoms in children and resolves without major complications. “In tropical regions, nearly all young children are infected with the hepatitis A virus and from that time on, they are immune to this disease,” says Prof. Dr. Jan Felix Drexler from the Institute of Virology at the University of Bonn Medical Centre and the German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF). By contrast, if adults become infected with the hepatitis A virus, the symptoms can be more serious, and the disease can even have a fatal outcome. The virus has been found to date only in humans and a few non-human primates. Its origins were mysterious.

Virologists from the University of Bonn Hospital, together with their colleagues from several German and international research institutes worldwide, searched for viruses related to the hepatitis A virus. They investigated a total of 15,987 specimens from 209 different species of small mammals: from rodents to shrews and bats to hedgehogs. Viruses from these mammals are very similar to the human hepatitis A virus with regard to their genetic properties, protein structures, immune response and patterns of infection. “The seemingly purely human virus is thus most likely of animal origin,” says Drexler. “The study enables new perspectives for risk assessments of emerging viruses by investigating functional, ecologic and pathogenic patterns instead of phylogeny only”.

The scientists’ evolutionary investigations may even hint at distant ancestry of the hepatitis A virus in primordial insect viruses. “It is possible that insect viruses infected insect-eating small mammals millions of years ago and that these viruses then developed into the precursors of the hepatitis A virus,” says the virologist from the University of Bonn Medical Centre.

The researcher assumes that small mammals were important hosts for the preservation and evolution of the viruses. “Otherwise the hepatitis A virus would actually have gone extinct long ago in small human populations due to the lifelong immunity of the persons once infected with it,” Drexler reasons. “However, patients need not fear that they could contract a hepatitis A virus infection through bats or hedgehogs. It has likely been a very long time since humans first contracted the hepatitis A precursor virus from animals – moreover, such incidents are very rare,” says the virologist from the University of Bonn Medical Centre.

Another Hepatitis A case is being reported by a person who ate at the same restaurant in Hamilton Township.

Robbinsville Township health officials say the resident ate at Rosa’s Restaurant on 3442 South Broad Street during the time when a food handler reported having Hepatitis A.

The patient works in Hamilton Township. However, health officials say coworkers at the job only have a negligible risk.

The first case of Hepatitis A was confirmed last month in a worker at Rosa’s. In light of that, the township hosted a vaccination clinic at a local firehouse.

Then last week health officials announced two additional cases – a 53-year-old hair dresser and a 60-year-old part-time fitness instructor.

Both women reportedly thought they had the flu before they were diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

All three patients ate at Rosa’s in November while the employee worked there, but health officials say they can’t definitively link the new cases to the first.

Hepatitis A is spread through oral fecal transmission. It’s rarely fatal, but it is highly contagious, and symptoms can appear 2 to 6 weeks after exposure.

Tortilla Marissa’s, a Mexican restaurant in Fort Collins, CO, will not reopen until August 9 because of the Hepatitis A scare that the restaurant faced at the end of June, according to the Coloradoan.

The Larimer County Health Department has advised the owners to keep the restaurant closed that long due to the virus’ relatively long incubation period, which averages 28 days but can last up to 50 days in some cases.

The restaurant originally closed on June 27, a day after an employee tested positive for the virus, which has a high risk of being spread when an infected person handles food. In total, the restaurant will be closed 43 days.

The only way the owners could legally open before that would be to hire an entirely new staff.

The county health department administered roughly 800 vaccines to restaurant patrons following the incident, but many did not opt to receive a vaccine. No other cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in connection to Tortilla Marissa’s.

The restaurant received an “inadequate” rating after an inspection in late May, a month before the incident. In two follow-up inspections, the restaurant earned “good” and “excellent” ratings.

The owners say that the closure time will allow them to address the remaining concerns presented by the inspections.

Customers who ate chopped, ready-to-eat fruit from Westside Market at 2589 Broadway between August 9 and August 22 may have been exposed to hepatitis A, according to New York City Health Department officials. A food handler at Westside Market reported a case of Hepatitis A, and now customers of the market are urged to get a vaccination as a precaution.

The disease is spread by eating food that has been contaminated with traces of fecal matter from an infected person.

The fruits, which included watermelon, pineapples and coconut, were sold in plastic containers. Fruits involved include those packaged in plastic containers and sold in the refrigerated case immediately to the left as you enter the store and includes watermelon cut into halves and quarters; peeled whole pineapples; and shelled and cut coconut.

People can visit their regular doctor to receive this shot.

The Health Department will offer free hepatitis A vaccinations starting Friday at MS 258: Community Action School located at 154 West 93rdStreet New York, NY 10025 at the following times:

Friday, August 23: 2pm -8pm

Saturday, August 24: 10am -2pm

Sunday, August 25: 2pm -6pm

Monday, August 26: 2pm-8pm

(Those with insurance, please bring your insurance card with you)

People who were exposed but have already received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine sometime in their life do not need another shot; all others should be vaccinated.

Pregnant women are urged to consult with their doctor to discuss whether to receive vaccine or a different preventive treatment.

A food worker at the Ancestor Square Pizza Factory in St. George, Utah, has tested positive for hepatitis A infection.

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department hopes to identify customers who ate at the restaurant during the following times:

  • July 19 (Fri.):   6-9:30 p.m.
  • July 20 (Sat.):  6-9:30 p.m.
  • July 23 (Tue.): 5-9:00 p.m.
  • July 26 (Fri.):   6-9:30 p.m.
  • July 27 (Sat.):  5-9:30 p.m.

Those who ate during these times may have been exposed to hepatitis A and are advised to contact the health department to possibly receive a hepatitis A vaccination. Those who ate at the restaurant outside of these times and those who have already been vaccinated for hepatitis A do not need to seek treatment.