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Taco Bell Waipio employee confirmed with hepatitis A

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    Samples of blood are tested for HIV and hepatitis in November 2012. A new case of hepatitis A has been confirmed in an employee at a Taco Bell in Waipio.

A new case of hepatitis A has been confirmed in an employee at a Taco Bell in Waipio.

The state Department of Health said today the latest hepatitis A victim worked at the Taco Bell located in Waipio at 94-790 Ukee Street. Customers are being told that they were exposed to the disease if they were at the store from June 16 through July 11, 2016 (actual dates: June 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29 and 30 and July 1, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 11).

An outbreak of hepatitis A on Oahu has sickened more than 52 people. Earlier this week, patrons of a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store in Waikele Center during the last two months were told they may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus after one of the store’s employees was confirmed to have the disease.

“It is important to note that neither the Waikele Baskin-Robbins nor the Waipio Taco Bell have been identified as the source of infection for this outbreak,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park in a news release. “These are merely places where the victims were employed. The likelihood that patrons of these food establishments will become infected is very low, but to prevent possible additional cases, we are notifying the public so they may seek advice and help from their healthcare providers.”

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

While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection, according to the health department.

More food service establishments may be affected as more cases are confirmed, and anyone with hepatitis A symptoms should stay home and contact a healthcare provider, officials said.

Additional information about hepatitis A is provided on the DOH website at

Unvaccinated individuals should contact 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.

For a list of vaccinating pharmacies, visit or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

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  • Hep A is gross. You get it when a food handler goes to the bathroom, wipes his/her rear end and goes back to work without washing their hands.

    • I personally witnessed a worker at the McDonald’s Beretania leave the stall (I was washing my hands) and go right straight out. Then as I sat at the table waiting for my order I saw this same worker in the work station preparing food. After that incident I stopped eating there. By the way, the rule regarding eating at restaurants with filthy restrooms rings true here as the restroom was a filthy mess. A friend and I also ate at the Burger King at Beretania and became sick after eating there. Those two restaurants are now on my no-fly zone. But the fact is when you eat at restaurants you leave your health at the hands of those who may not care about sanitary habits and only do it when others are around. One time I ate at a Zippy’s Nimitz and received a glass of water with what appeared to be soda marks at lips. Nice!

    • Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The disease can range from a mild illness lasting 1 or 2 weeks to a severe illness lasting for several months. HAV is found in the stool of people with hepatitis A infection and is usually spread by eating contaminated food or drinking water and can be spread through close personal/sexual contact. A person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others within the same household.

  • Seems like the State Health Dept is moving much too slow in dealing with his Hep A problem. The fact that the number of cases jumped dramatically after the first few cases
    would seem to indicate that the source might have been a restaurant/fast food business and this has lead to multiple people being infected in rapid fashion causing the dramatic spread of this

  • Seems like the state Department of Health is only good at reporting new cases to the public whenever there is an outbreak. Do they have a questionnaire or if not make one that asks things like what grocery stores they shopped at, what restaurants they ate at, what foods they bought and ate, what foods they ate at restaurants, etc. so they can try to pin down the source of the outbreak. If they are doing an investigation why can’t they put out a list that shows us where the infected people live, what area they work, and what restaurants they visited so we can make our own decision to try to lower our risks of possible infection. They don’t have to give names but only location of people and businesses.

  • Restaurants. Waiters/Waitress should take orders and bring food and drinks to the table only. After handling the check or exchanging cash/credit cards, hands to be washed.

    Clean up of plates, glasses, utensils, etc. to be done by busboys/girls. Glasses, spoons, forks etc are grabbed where people put their lips on or what enters their mouth. Restaurant servers doing double duty help clear the dishes. Many don’t wash their hands and serve their eating customers. Ugh.

    When water or liquids are poured into patron’s glasses the pitcher touches the patron’s glass where there lips went. Pitcher gets contaminated and passed on to the next patron. Watch for this and notify the management. When to communicate, basically when you are leaving. Don’t want to get your servers, food prepares and whomever upset, knowing stories of retaliation. If they continue you may not want to go back to that restaurant.

    Menus are another transporter. Dirty oily menus is a tell tale (besides bathrooms) how sanitary conscience these establishments are.

    Many people don’t realize that touching their noses, eyes and mouth with their hands are now contaminated. Most people have
    blackheads or whiteheads on their noses and on top of that it is oily, may not have virus on their nose but it is disgusting when they
    scratch or rub their noses. Change your mindset that this is not very sanitary.

    • excellent points in theory. Hard to implement in reality. Did you also know not supposed to use plastic glasses for drinking. Too many cracks.

  • Is the current Hepatitis A outbreak caused by food handlers that are the working homeless? Is that the common factor with all of the Hepatitis A victims?

    As for washing your hands after using the bathroom, when I worked for the State, our Hillary-like Director, who was from Canada, and all of her arrogant staff, did not wash their hands after using the bathroom, even after doing Number 2. It quickly became known that you don’t shake her hand, and you don’t share a bag of chips or arare with her, or any food where she has to stick her hands in to get it.

    Then we found out that the cook for the cafeteria upstairs also did not wash her hands after using the bathroom. The cook was the mother of the owner, and the place soon became deserted because no one wanted to eat their food.

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