Two more hepatitis A cases: Kapolei Chili’s worker, Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant
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Two more hepatitis A cases: Kapolei Chili’s worker, Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant

  • ALYSSA AMASOL / AAMASOL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Chili’s restaurant in Kapolei.

  • COURTESY HAWAIIAN AIRLINES

    The state Department of Health this afternoon confirmed two new food service-related hepatitis A cases on Oahu: an employee at Chili’s restaurant in Kapolei and aHawaiian Airlines flight attendant.

The state Department of Health this afternoon confirmed two new food service-related hepatitis A cases on Oahu: an employee at Chili’s restaurant in Kapolei and a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant.

The new cases are among more than 90 Hawaii residents who have come down with the disease in the worst hepatitis A outbreak in the islands in nearly two decades.

The Chili’s food service employee works a restaurant located at 590 Farrington Highway. Diners might have been exposed to the disease when the employee was working on a total of 13 days last month — July 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, and 27.

The DOH has named Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant’s case because the infected crew member served in-flight food and beverages. Passengers on various flights between July 1 and July 26 might have been exposed to hepatitis A.

Hawaiian Airlines customers may go to www.hawaiianairlines.com/hepatitisA for detailed information on affected flights.

“At this time, no infections have been linked to exposure at these businesses and they are not sources of the outbreak,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said in a news release.

“We are alerting the public only as a precaution; the risk of transmission is extremely low and these businesses are working with us to help prevent potentially new cases in our community.”

Persons who consumed food or beverage products from these businesses during the identified periods and are recommended to:

>> Contact their health care providers about the possibility of receiving hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (IG), which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure.

>> Monitor their health for symptoms of hepatitis A infection up to 50 days after exposure.

>> Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the restroom and before preparing food.

>> Stay at home and contact their health care provider immediately if symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop. Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes.

“The most infectious period for this disease may be as much as two weeks before the onset of symptoms — before the individual even knows he or she is sick,” Park said. “The public’s health is our main concern, and we feel it is important to equip people with this information so they may work with their health care providers to protect their health.”

For the complete list of food service establishments that have had employees diagnosed with hepatitis A infection, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/. For additional information about hepatitis A go to http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/.

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    • Maybe not. If food handlers were the source a whole bunch of people who ate at the restaurant would get sick at the same time. Instead it is a slow but steady smattering of people over a long period of time. How many of those infected went swimming or just waded in ocean water around Oahu such as Magic Island or Ala Moana Beach park? How many just sat or lied down on moist beach sand only but did not go into the water? How many infected used pulblic restrooms, wash basins or drinking fountains? Probably the only thing tthat can be ruled out for this Oahu Hep A is sex and IV drug use cause the people getting sick don’t sound like they are into that. However don’t discount that like the ocean water around Rio where the Olympics are being held, that Oahu’s primary only treated sewage reelased into the water around Oahu does not contain nasty diseases as well. Another reason why the Natatorium sea water pool should never be reopened ever again. Also don’t discount Oahu beach sand that during high tide or waves gets saturated with pollluted oean water and then when people lie down or sit on the sand can pick up the virus that way.

      • PS: Of course if it turns out to be polluted Oahu ocean water no wants that kind of negative publicity but to bury ones head on the sand on this will only do more harm to Hawaii visitor industry in the long run. If Oahu Hep A infections goes on and on as it willl make national and world news like the way 15 Zika mosquitos cases have been reported in Florida.

        • If your train of thought is that the source of this outbreak is from dirty ocean water, wouldn’t there be more people showing up with the disease at the same? Waikiki is populated with tourists swimming in the water. If you ever seen the effluent aerial photo coming from Sand Island Waster Water Treatment Plant, you can see that the sewage flow can be seen as far east as in Hawaii Kai and as far west as Ewa Beach, this whole area is called the Mamala Bay. I have seen a picture of it when I was a studying at UH in the late 90’s. With more housing in the Kakaako area and the increased tourist number, ther more sewage is produced and processed at Sand Island thereby more sewage going to the ocean. Ever since I saw that aerial picture, I have stopped swimming at Ala Moana and the other areas affected by the effluent from Sand Island.

        • South76: The concentration and viability of the HepA virus particles in ocean water, the ocean currents or even micro currents in a small area at any particular time, combined with whether or not the swimmer swallows water or the person on the sand gets the HepA virus on their hands or body and then they use their hands to eat foods, whether or not they had the HepA vaccine, etc. is subject to much more randomness than contaminated locally grown produce or food distributed/served at a restaurant(s) or market(s). And maybe even more factors are involved that no computer running some matching program would even begin to identify the link.

  • Went to Long’s today. They said you must get a doctor’s prescription for the Hep A shots. One now and another 6 months later. Then no more needed. Without the Rx they couldn’t tell me how much the shots were with Medicare and HMSA.

  • “the risk of transmission is extremely low” — is that why there are now over 90 new cases?

    “we feel it is important to equip people with this information so they may work with their health care providers to protect their health” — yeah, with a $200 shot. At least a vaccine is available, but a lot of people can’t afford it.

    “The most infectious period for this disease may be as much as two weeks before the onset of symptoms — before the individual even knows he or she is sick” — even more reason for this to be a routine vaccination, not a $200 luxury vaccine.

    I can’t imagine how this state will (non-)react when Zika gets here. We can’t seem to control anything.

  • HEP B and C is worse than A, but no VAC for C. Having A is liking the flu combination hang over with runs. Believe me I know! No big deal! Now I stay immune and Vaccinated to all but C. LOL!

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