The number of new cases of hepatitis A in Hawaii has jumped to 271, an increase of 19 since last Wednesday, the state Department of Health reported.
All of the confirmed cases are in adults, with 68 hospitalizations. The outbreak, which began June 12, is centered on Oahu with only 10 cases on Hawaii island, Kauai or Maui.
The hepatitis A virus has a long incubation period, from 15 to 50 days after exposure. So cases will continue to appear even thought people are no longer consuming the tainted product.
The Health Department last month identified frozen scallops packaged by De Oro Resources and served raw at Genki Sushi as the probable cause of the outbreak. Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu were shut down for more than three weeks after being linked to the outbreak, but are now reopen after being cleared last week as safe for customers.
Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests even microscopic amounts of human fecal matter through food, drink or other objects. A vaccine is effective in preventing the disease, and thorough hand-washing after using the toilet and before eating can help stem its spread.
The Health Department releases the total number of cases each Wednesday.