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Weekly tally of new hepatitis A cases up by 19

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    Straub Medical Center nurse Janelle Carroll administered a hepatitis A vaccine to Brian Murdock on Sept. 2. An additional hepatitis A vaccine booster is required after six months and is effective for about 25 years.

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.

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  • We are seeing more and more cases but no information is given on whether they ate the tainted scallops or had very close contact with an infected person who ate the scallops. It appears that the consensus is that the original source of The hepatitis A is from tainted scallops. What is not said is whether anyone got infected from a secondary source such as a contaminated restroom, door handle or anything else that the general public comes in contact with. People should be provided with some indication as to the true risk of catching hepatitis A from going about everyday business in public places.

  • One of these reported cases is said to be an employee working at a restaurant on pier 38. This is where the labor trafficking is alleged to be happening. On Thursday, 9/8/16 this paper reported on “floating prisons”. Are these “prisoner” “virtual captives on their boats being medically evaluated. It should be done. We know who they are. ICE/CBP does not require them to be medically inspected. This should be done for public health and safety. If this is a loop hole then it must be closed. Somebody needs to get on this. I understand that there is along latent period and the disease will stop eventually. But 19 new cases in a week does not sounds promising.

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