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 http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/.
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 http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.