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A clinical case of Hepatitis A has been identified in a food handler at the Dairy Queen establishment in Clearwater located at 318 Eden Rd.

While Hepatitis A is uncommon in Interior Health, it is believed there is a low but definite risk to persons who ate food at this restaurant during the period this food handler was infectious.

To date, there have been no additional reported cases and Interior Health is taking immediate steps to ensure the safety of all staff and customers. Persons who consumed any foods or beverages from this Dairy Queen location during the following dates and times may have been exposed to Hepatitis A.

  Thursday, Dec. 8
  Friday, Dec. 9
  Saturday, Dec. 10
  Sunday, Dec. 11
  Thursday, Dec. 15
  Friday, Dec. 16
  Saturday, Dec. 17
  Sunday, Dec. 18

4 p.m. – 9 p.m. 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver and is caused by the Hepatitis A virus. The virus is found in the bowel movements (stool) of infected people. It can be spread through close personal contact or through contaminated food that has been handled by an infected person. The virus can get under nails and, despite thorough hand washing, can still contaminate food.

Symptoms usually develop 15 to 50 days after exposure and include nausea, abdominal cramps, fever, dark urine, and/or yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice). Illness can be more severe in adults over 50 years of age or those with chronic liver disease. Illness can last for several weeks and people generally recover completely. If you have symptoms, stay home from school and/or work. Frequent hand washing, especially after using the toilet and before handling food, remains the most effective way to avoid the spread of Hepatitis A infections.

Hepatitis A vaccine can prevent Hepatitis disease, but only if given within 14 days of exposure.

“We are advising anyone who may have been exposed to take the precaution of getting immunized,” said Dr. Sue Pollock, Medical Health Officer, Interior Health. “Hepatitis A is a serious infection and immunization is a proven and safe means of preventing illness.”

Interior Health will be providing vaccination clinics in Clearwater and Kamloops on the following dates. Please bring your immunization records with you to the clinic, if possible.

Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital in Clearwater:

  Friday, Dec. 23, 1-3 p.m.
  Saturday, Dec. 24 9 a.m. – noon
  Monday, Dec. 26, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  Tuesday, Dec. 27, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The Public Health Unit in Kamloops, 519 Columbia St.:

  Friday, Dec. 23, 1-3 p.m.
  Saturday, Dec. 24, 9 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.

Outside these clinic dates and until Wednesday Dec. 28, individuals may obtain vaccine at the Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital emergency department in Clearwater or at the Royal Inland Hospital emergency department in Kamloops. After Dec. 28, please contact your local public health unit to access vaccine. Individuals living outside of Clearwater and Kamloops should also contact their local public health unit for information on where to access vaccine in their region. If your exposure was more than 14 days ago, then vaccine will not be effective. Watch for signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A and, if these signs/symptoms occur, please see your family physician for testing.

If you have had Hepatitis A infection in the past or have had two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine, then you are not at risk of infection.

In its weekly update Wednesday, the Hawaii Department of Health reported no new confirmed cases from Nov. 3 through 9. It recorded one new case the previous week, bringing the total number of sick people to 292. About a fourth of the outbreak victims have had symptoms so severe that they required hospitalization. At least one death, a 68-year-old woman, is attributed to the outbreak that was traced to frozen scallops imported from the Philippines and served raw by the Genki Sushi fast food chain. Another outbreak victim died, but was terminally ill and in hospice care so health officials are not attributing that death to Hepatitis A. All but 18 of the victims have been residents of Oahu. Seven victims are visitors who have returned to the mainland or overseas. Eleven outbreak victims live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai or Maui. Only Genki Sushi locations on Oahu and Kauai served the implicated scallops.

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 2 new cases of hepatitis A. Seventy-three (73) have required hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Eleven (11) individuals are residents of the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, or Maui, and seven visitors have returned to the mainland or overseas.

Although the 50-day maximum incubation period from the date of the scallops embargo has passed, HDOH continues to be alert for people who have had onset of illness earlier but may present late to a clinician, as well as possible secondary cases. Secondary cases have been rare in this outbreak and have been limited to household members of cases or close contacts of cases.

CONFIRMED CASES OF HEPATITIS A – 291
Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 10/9/16.

Lewis County Public Health & Social Services announced today that recent customers of the Shop’N Kart bakery in Chehalis, may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

“On October 6, 2016, a case of hepatitis A in a bakery worker was reported to the Health Department,” said Danette York, Lewis County Public Health & Social Services director. “To prevent illness, persons who have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A and ate decorated cakes or cupcakes from the bakery between September 22 and October 6, 2016 should contact their healthcare provider about treatment to prevent hepatitis A,” said York.

Persons who ate these foods between September 8 and 22 may also have been exposed, but it is now too late for treatment to prevent illness. If you ate decorated cakes or cupcakes from the bakery and develop symptoms of hepatitis A, contact your healthcare provider.

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.

Hepatitis A is a viral disease of the liver. It is spread from person to person by the fecal-oral route, often by inadequate handwashing after using the toilet or changing diapers. Typical symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Symptoms usually develop 2–7 weeks after exposure. Some infections may be very mild or may not produce symptoms.

The CDC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of foodborne hepatitis A.  70 people with hepatitis A have been reported from seven states: Maryland (6), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), Virginia (55), West Virginia (5), and Wisconsin (1).  32 ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate frozen strawberries imported from Egypt are the likely source of this outbreak.

On August 8, 2016, Tropical Smoothie Café reported that they removed the Egyptian frozen strawberries from their restaurants in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia and switched to another supplier. Out of an abundance of caution, Tropical Smoothie Café has since switched to another supplier for all restaurants nationwide.

Contact your doctor if you think you may have become ill from eating a smoothie containing strawberries from a Tropical Smoothie Café prior to August 8, 2016 in the following states:

  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Maryland
  • North Carolina

It is important that food handlers and restaurant employees contact their doctor and stay home if they are infected with hepatitis A. This helps prevent the virus from spreading. Not everyone will experience symptoms from a hepatitis A virus infection. Some people may experience mild flu-like symptoms. Other symptoms of hepatitis A virus infection include:

  • Yellow eyes or skin
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pale stools
  • Dark urine

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is investigating a cluster of hepatitis A cases and has identified a potential association with smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in Virginia. Genetic testing shows the illnesses were caused by a strain of hepatitis A that has been associated with past outbreaks due to frozen strawberries from Egypt. Upon learning of the potential link to strawberries, Tropical Smoothie Cafe immediately conducted a voluntary product withdrawal of all strawberries sourced from Egypt and found an alternate supply.

Individuals who consumed a smoothie from a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Virginia that contained frozen strawberries, on August 5, 6, 7 or 8, 2016, may still benefit from vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A. (Vaccine or immune globulin administered within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A virus is effective at preventing the disease.) If you have had hepatitis A or have been vaccinated for hepatitis A, you are already immune and therefore not at risk for getting the disease. Anyone who consumed a smoothie after the frozen strawberries were removed from restaurants is not thought to be at risk for hepatitis A.

Other restaurants, and firms that supply restaurants, may also have received the frozen strawberries imported from Egypt. VDH continues to investigate cases and work with state and federal partners, including the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to identify additional locations where the product may have been distributed.

Anyone who consumed a smoothie with frozen strawberries at a restaurant within the last 50 days is encouraged to watch for symptoms of hepatitis A. If illness occurs, seek medical care and take steps to protect others from the infection.

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus.  The classic symptom of hepatitis A is jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or the eyes.  Other symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools. Symptoms develop 15-50 days after exposure to the virus, which can occur through direct contact with another person who has the infection or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus.

Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.

It is very important for people who have symptoms of hepatitis A to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service.

Routine vaccination against hepatitis A has reduced the risk of this disease in the past decade.  Vaccination is available to anyone, but specifically recommended for all children, for travelers to certain countries, and for people at high risk for infection with the virus.  Hepatitis A vaccine is available from health care providers (including some pharmacies and travel clinics) to protect against this disease.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is investigating a cluster of hepatitis A cases and has identified a potential association with smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in Virginia. Genetic testing shows the illnesses were caused by a strain of hepatitis A that has been associated with past outbreaks due to frozen strawberries from Egypt. Upon learning of the potential link to strawberries, Tropical Smoothie Cafe immediately conducted a voluntary product withdrawal of all strawberries sourced from Egypt and found an alternate supply.

Individuals who consumed a smoothie from a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Virginia that contained frozen strawberries, on August 5, 6, 7 or 8, 2016, may still benefit from vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A. (Vaccine or immune globulin administered within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A virus is effective at preventing the disease.) If you have had hepatitis A or have been vaccinated for hepatitis A, you are already immune and therefore not at risk for getting the disease. Anyone who consumed a smoothie after the frozen strawberries were removed from restaurants is not thought to be at risk for hepatitis A.

Other restaurants, and firms that supply restaurants, may also have received the frozen strawberries imported from Egypt. VDH continues to investigate cases and work with state and federal partners, including the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to identify additional locations where the product may have been distributed.

Anyone who consumed a smoothie with frozen strawberries at a restaurant within the last 50 days is encouraged to watch for symptoms of hepatitis A. If illness occurs, seek medical care and take steps to protect others from the infection.

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus.  The classic symptom of hepatitis A is jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or the eyes.  Other symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools. Symptoms develop 15-50 days after exposure to the virus, which can occur through direct contact with another person who has the infection or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus.

Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.

It is very important for people who have symptoms of hepatitis A to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service.

Routine vaccination against hepatitis A has reduced the risk of this disease in the past decade.  Vaccination is available to anyone, but specifically recommended for all children, for travelers to certain countries, and for people at high risk for infection with the virus.  Hepatitis A vaccine is available from health care providers (including some pharmacies and travel clinics) to protect against this disease.

Individuals can contact their local health department with any questions concerning this investigation. For more information, visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/hepatitis-a/.

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.

There has also been an even wider impact on the businesses that employed some of those ill people.  The following businesses have been linked to those illnesses:

Baskin-Robbins, Oahu, Waikele Center – June 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 27, 30, and July 1 and 3, 2016

Chili’s, Oahu, Kapolei (590 Farrington Highway) – July 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, and 27, 2016

Costco Bakery, Oahu, Hawaii Kai – June 16-20, 2016

Hawaiian Airlines – July 1-26, 2016

Sushi Shiono, Hawaii, Waikoloa Beach Resort, Queen’s MarketPlace (69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive) – July 5-8, 11-15, and 18-21, 2016

Taco Bell, Oahu, Waipio (94-790 Ukee Street) – June 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, and July 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 11, 2016

Tamashiro Market, Oahu, Kalihi (802 N. King Street) – July 2, 4, 6–8, 11–13, 15–19, and 23, 2016

Papa John’s Waipahu, Oahu, Waipahu (94-1021 Waipahu Street) – July 23-24, and Aug. 2, 2016

New Lin Fong bakery, Oahu, Chinatown (1132 Maunakea Street) – July 20, 22-23, 25, 27, 29-30, and Aug. 1, 3, and 5-6, 2016

Hepatitis A:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.  We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, wo required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.

If you or a family member became ill with a Hepatitis A infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Hepatitis A attorneys for a free case evaluation.

At least a 93 person hepatitis A outbreak that has left 29 hospitalized as of July 26, 2016.

Ill people have also been located on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai and Maui, but the had been visiting Oahu in the weeks before the onset of their illnesses.

The onset of ill has ranged from June 12, 2016 to July 19, 2016.  Therefore in essence this outbreak is growing and ongoing.

The Health Department has suggested that unvaccinated contacts of cases should talk to their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin, which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within the first two weeks after exposure.

A contact is defined as:

  • All unvaccinated household members
  • All unvaccinated sexual contacts
  • Anyone sharing illicit drugs with a case
  • Anyone sharing food or eating or drinking utensils with a case
  • Anyone consuming ready-to-eat foods prepared by an infectious food handler with diarrhea or poor hygiene 

Unvaccinated food handlers who are contacts of cases must have a negative hepatitis A IgM test before they return to work. An employee of the following food service business(es) has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. This list does not indicate these businesses are sources of this outbreak; at this time, no infections have been linked to exposure to these businesses. The likelihood that patrons of these businesses will become infected is very low. However, persons who have consumed food or drink products from these businesses during the identified dates of service should contact their healthcare provider for advice and possible preventive care.

Baskin-Robins

Sushi Shiono

Taco Bell

Costco

A case of hepatitis A has been reported in a food handler at the Pizza Works restaurant in Custer. The food handler worked shifts between June 19 and July 5. Individuals who ate at the restaurant during that time period should contact their health care provider to determine if they need a shot of immune globulin which minimizes their chances of becoming ill or if they should be considered for vaccination.

Pizza Works is cooperating with the department on the investigation.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a virus. The virus can be carried on an infected person’s hands and can be spread by direct contact, or by consuming food or drink that has been handled by the individual.

Symptoms may include fatigue, poor appetite, fever, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting. Urine may become darker, and then jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and eyes) may appear. The disease is rarely fatal and most people recover in a few weeks without any complications. Infants and young children tend to have very mild symptoms and are less likely to develop jaundice than are older children and adults. Not everyone who is infected will have all of the symptoms.

The single most effective way to prevent the spread of hepatitis A is careful hand-washing after using the toilet. Also, infected people should not handle foods during the contagious period, which begins two weeks before symptoms appear and extends a few days after jaundice appears.