The Maine CDC says customers of a Moosehead Lake restaurant could be at risk of contracting hepatitis A.
Health officials say a worker at The Birches Resort in Rockwood, who was ill with hepatitis A, handled food while infectious between Sept. 2 and 22.
According to the Maine CDC, an assessment of the employee’s illness determined that restaurant patrons may be at risk for hepatitis A infection.
The Maine CDC recommends that anyone who may have eaten food prepared at The Birches Resort Restaurant or worked at the restaurant from Sept. 16 through Sept. 22 receive hepatitis A vaccine within 14 days of their potential exposure. There is a 14-day window during which prophylaxis is effective after exposure.
Anyone who may have had dine-in, take-out, delivery, or curbside pickup of food from the restaurant should ask a medical provider about receiving the vaccine.
People who visited the restaurant from Sept. 2 through Sept. 15 are outside the window for which prophylaxis is recommended but are advised to watch for symptoms and seek medical attention should symptoms develop, according to the Maine CDC.
Individuals with compromised immune systems or children younger than one year old who visited the restaurant during this time may benefit from hepatitis A immune globulin (IG), upon consultation with their health care providers.
The Maine CDC says the best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms range from mild illness to a severe sickness that requires hospitalization and can last several months.
Most adults with hepatitis A have a sudden onset of symptoms such as tiredness, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Most children younger than 6 years old do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection.
Hepatitis A can be spread through contaminated food or water, especially in food prepared by a person who is infected. Symptoms begin to show 15-50 days after exposure to the virus. An infected person can spread the virus to others approximately two weeks before symptoms start until one week after symptoms end.