comscore FDA tests confirm hepatitis A virus in scallops from Philippines | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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FDA tests confirm hepatitis A virus in scallops from Philippines


    The Department of Health showed a box of the Sea Port Bay Scallops that tested positive for the hepatitis A virus.

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.

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  • Is Sea Port Products Corporation a Filipino company? Are there laws requiring them to make sure their product is safe? Need to sue them. Not the restaurants.

      • I’m thinking more like harvesting clams from Cebu Island shallow waters contaminated with sewage. Not dirty hands. Need to be patient as I’m sure some DOH will be packing their bags and taking an investigative trip to Cebu along with Federal officials from the CDC. Need to see the harvesting grounds, the processing factories, personnel hygienic practices, etc. They should visit all the seafood factories on that island. This is a serious epidemic they caused, and no one should shy away from banning their products forever. Send a message to all Asian and world seafood suppliers the American health is taken seriously.

  • Has there been any survey of the infected persons whether they ate tainted scallops, ate at Genki, and/or came in close contact with any person that ate tainted scallops? If all the infected people fell into these categories then it would seem that second hand exposure would less likely cause spread of the disease which would be a good indication for the general public. Was it confirmed that all the infected workers in other food establishments contracted the Hep A from actually eating the tainted scallops and not from another person? Has any other source of the hepatitis A virus been ruled out yet?

  • Packaging says it’s distributed by Kirkland, Washington. Is this a Costco product? If so, wondering what other products from the Phillipines is distributed by Costco.

  • With months of these scallops getting served at Genki, I wouldn’t be surprised if thousands has gotten Hep A and recovered and thought it was just a bad case of food poisoning.

    • Funny to say this. If you got Hep A and recovered you are now immune to it. You have just built up antibodies like you when you get vaccinated. Still need to get Hep A and B because you don’t know which one you got. Maybe you got Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, Pasteurella, and so on. You can read some Medical Microbiology and Epidemiology books if you’re curious. Don’t really need to go to med school. Just borrow the same textbooks in the library. Tell doc to vaccinate for EVERYTHING even though we don’t have the diseases here. You’ll need them when you travel. Be damned if you get bitten by a strange dog in the Philippines and you never got the rabies vaccinations. This epidemic should be a learning opportunity for everybody.

    • Food poisoning makes you sick within hours of eating bad food. Hepatitis comes on days later, the early symptoms can be mistaken for the Flu. It is no big secret that in the Asian Third World, the hole in the floor that is the bathroom goes straight into a waterway. You want to talk about pilau, fish and shrimp farms will deliberately set up their ponds where there is definitely raw sewage. That way they do not have to spend so much money on fish food. Good luck getting me to eat any kind of fish or seafood from one of those countries ever. Not after getting sick on imported shrimp that I thoroughly cooked. What a miserable weekend for everyone that had dinner with me. I thought it was just me until my friends said they were sick that night too.

  • If shellfish are known to carry and transmit Hep A, still don’t understand why it took the State so long to find this link. Since the outbreak was so wide, it obviously couldn’t be traced to one person. Don’t think it was coincidence that only after the CDC got involved that the source was found.

    • Duh. That’s why it took them a long time. It wasn’t like 20 people that all went to the same picnic or party came down with illness at the same time. They needed to find the common denominator among all those people who got sick. I eat shellfish but I didn’t go to Genki Sushi. And so what if the source was found after the CDC came. Let’s just be glad they were able to come here and help with the investigation.

    • I agree, the source was found a week after the CDC sent a team to assist. Coincidence? I doubt it, this state is managed by the most incompetent, corrupt politicians and department heads in the country. The Health department bungled the dengue outbreak, and probably this one too. 70% of the infected people reported eating at Genki, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that’s a fairly significant common factor.
      My guess is the CDC figured it out in less than a week while the health department was looking for the source for several months.

  • Get vaccinated. Hep A is not that uncommon in HI. It is your best protection. Costs about 120 for both shots at Walmart. My HMSA plan won’t pay for it even with a prescription claim it is a travel luxury but was the best money I ever spent.

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