comscore Seafood handler at Sam’s Club tests positive for hepatitis A | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Seafood handler at Sam’s Club tests positive for hepatitis A

  • DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

    The Department of Health, on Aug. 18, showed a box of the Sea Port Bay Scallops that tested positive for the hepatitis A virus.

Another food service worker has come down with hepatitis A, this time an employee of Ohana Seafood, a vendor in the Sam’s Club warehouse store in Pearl City, the Health Department announced today.

Food handled by the worker may have been sold from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11, and anyone who may have consumed it may want to get a protective vaccine or immune globulin, although the risk of transmission is very low, the department said.

“We expect to continue seeing new cases of hepatitis A infection through at least early October because of the long incubation period for this illness, even though the source of the outbreak has been identified as contaminated scallops,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist.

“While this case involves a food handler working with raw seafood, the food handler is another victim, and none of the products sold by Ohana Seafood at Sam’s Club have been identified as a source of the ongoing outbreak.”

So far, 271 people have come down with hepatitis A in the current outbreak, which was traced to contaminated scallops served at Genki Sushi restaurants.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (28)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

    • Rookie poster. Either you did not read the article or you willfully failed to comprehend this part, “We expect to continue seeing new cases of hepatitis A infection through at least early October because of the long incubation period for this illness.”

      Too expensive to test everyone. Just have to wait. And taking the vaccine if already infected isn’t going to work.

      Rookies…………

    • Here’s the list of “places of interest” on DOH website (within the last 50 days): Hokkaido ramen, Papa John’s, New Lin Fong bakery, Hawaiian Air, Zippy’s, Harbor restaurant, Ohana Seafood. I think it started with a B&R ice cream shop. So this is the only “seafood industry” infection within the last 50 days.

  • 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.

    • uku – As usual you post without doing research. Your standard. From the CDC:

      “Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis A is highly contagious. It is usually transmitted by the fecal-oral route, either through person-to-person contact or consumption of contaminated food or water.”

      http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/

  • Checked online and in 2014, a total of 1,239 cases of Hep A were reported from 50 states to CDC. The total numbers in the US has greatly gone down EXCEPT Hawaii with 271 in 2016 and new cases still being discovered. Beside being #1 in the nation for highest cost for electricity, highest cost of overhead to build road and highways, close to being #1 in traffic commute times (Rail making it WORSE), etc. Looks like Hawaii will have another #1 ranking.

  • I think it’s absurd that the SA is focused on food service workers. All of the Sam’s seafood workers have gloves on. So do Genki workers who prep food. The uneducated need to realize that a worker would have to use the toilet, somehow get feces on their hand(s) and not wash their hands and go back to work gloveless, then handle your food. Or they would have to spit, sneeze or have an open festering wound oozing human fluid onto the consumables. Hep A was IN THE SCALLOPS. They were raised in farms exposed to human fece runoff. There’s doctors, teachers and ordinary day-to-day workers who have contracted Hep A who have more interaction with people than food service workers do. Why doesn’t the SA do proper investigative reporting and report how many other food service co-workers, who worked side by side with the infected people for days and weeks, came down with infection. I’d bet is it minimal at best. Most probably they were involved in relationships outside of work and that’s how bodily fluids were exchanged. The SA is causing fear mongoering and doing damage to the food service industry with this sensationalist reporting.

  • In response to comments by Ukeleleblue and BH1, here is what the State Health Department posted on their website:

    A contact of a case is defined as:

    All unvaccinated household members
    All unvaccinated sexual contacts
    Anyone sharing illicit drugs with a case
    Anyone sharing food or eating or drinking utensils with a case
    Anyone consuming ready-to-eat foods prepared by an infectious food handler

    Recommendations for contacts of cases:

    Contact your healthcare provider 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 your health for symptoms of hepatitis A infection up to 50 days after exposure
    Wash your hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food
    If symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop, stay at home and contact your healthcare provider immediately

  • In my opinion, I am somewhat skeptical of the details surrounding the Hep A outbreak. Is it really the Sea Port Products or the lack of proper hygiene by food handlers. I hope that Sea Port Products and Genki Sushi were not made scapegoats to a more elementary problem…proper food handling / hygiene. After the dust settles, we may want to evaluate the Department of Health and its’ leadership.

  • It seems that seafood is involved in most of these cases. Your paper report 700 smuggled fishermen that work on slave ships in Honolulu, Harbor. That number is low… there are more than that. Wouldn’t it be prudent to have each of those people vaccinated. Just precautionary if nothing else. Sanitation seems to be another common factor. These vessels are homes to 5-7 people that we know nothing about. They have no showers or toilets and sleep and work in direct contact with the fish. They are food handlers. They cannot get off the vessels legally. Send a doctor to them with vaccinations. Don’t wait for an outbreak. The Department of Health has already seen at least on case of tuberculous from those fishermen.

    • Someone is protecting them from being interviewed to determine whether they are meeting health standards. The workers cannot come ashore so, technically cannot transmit the disease, but the products unloaded may be contaminated? What about the discharge of waste product off the vessels.

    • Again, I am not too keen on how the Department of Health is addressing this issue and perhaps as lack of soliciting help from the agencies who need to be pulled into the loop. Perhaps a bit too proud to admit that DH needs help. My opinion of Ms. Park and her ability to manage DH issues has been less than adequate yet she’s still there.

Scroll Up