Federal laboratory tests confirmed the presence of hepatitis A virus in scallops from the Philippines that the state Health Department had identified as the likely source of the disease outbreak in Hawaii, officials announced this afternoon.
The Health Department blocked the sale and distribution of Sea Port Bay Scallops (Wild Harvest, Raw Frozen) in the state early this week, immediately after concluding they were the probable cause of the outbreak, which has sickened 206 people.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration tested the product and results came back positive today.
“I would like to thank our federal partners, the FDA and CDC for their collaboration with our staff throughout this ongoing investigation,” said Dr. Virginia Pressler, health director. “The corroboration by the FDA of our data analysis and conclusions provides welcome and critical evidence for our continuing investigative work.”
The scallops are produced by De Oro Resources Inc., in Suba Basbas, Philippines, and imported by Sea Port Products Corp. in Washington state. Health authorities closed Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai late Monday because the scallops had been served there.
“We are continuing efforts to end this outbreak by working to assure no other product is left in the state and to monitor for those who unfortunately may have been infected and do not yet have symptoms,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.
Vaccination is the best protection against hepatitis A, an infectious liver disease. People who think they consumed the scallops should contact their health care providers about getting the hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin, which can provide protection if given within two weeks of exposure. Vigorous hand washing can also help prevent the spread of the virus.