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Hepatitis A cases now at 284 as outbreak continues

  • COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

    Authorities in August determined the source of the hepatitis A outbreak was tainted scallops imported from the Philippines and served raw at Genki Sushi, triggering closure of restaurants on Oahu and Kaui.

Eight new cases this week have increased the state Department of Health’s tally of hepatitis A cases to 284 as the worst outbreak of the viral disease in two decades in Hawaii continues to run its course.

The health department first issued a medical advisory to all health care providers on June 30 urging them to report all suspected hepatitis A infections in the search for the cause of the outbreak. The infectious liver disease is usually spread through food or drink contaminated with traces of the feces of an infected person. It can also spread through close personal contact.

Authorities in August determined the source of the hepatitis A outbreak was tainted scallops imported from the Philippines and served raw at Genki Sushi, triggering closure of restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. Genki was cleared to reopen after three weeks in which its restaurants had been thoroughly sanitized, and all workers had been medically screened and cleared.

The onset of illnesses from this week’s new cases ranges between June 12 and Sept. 16.

The state said all cases have been in adults, and 71 people have required hospitalization.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park has said more cases are expected to surface into October because of the viral disease’s long incubation period of as many as 50 days after exposure.

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  • Are these new cases persons who ate tainted scallops or been in very close contact with someone who ate the bad scallops? Have there been any definite cases where a person got infected from a secondary source as from a contaminated surface in a public place such as a restroom or door handle? What is the true risk of catching hepatitis A while going about regular daily business in public places?

    • Even before you get to wash your hands you touch the flush handle, door knob to the stall, then the water faucet handle, unless any of these are automatic. Sad part is a lot of people don’t wash their hands AT ALL…

        • If God had intended me to use my elbow to flush a toilet, he would have put fingers on my elbow.

      • Grab a piece of toilet paper to touch the toilet flush handle and grab another piece to touch the stall door knob. You can touch the water faucet handle with your hand but after thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water pull a piece from the paper towel dispenser and use that to turn off the faucet. Grab another piece of paper towel to open the bathroom door. Whatever you do don’t throw these pieces of toilet paper on the bathroom floor or stall as that is messy for other poeple, instead either throw toilet paper in the toilet bowl or paper towel pieces in the garbage can. This might sound ridiculous but will greatly reduce your chance of getting a nasty bug from someone else’s poo germs

  • so can we assume that by october 4, 50 days after the closure of genki restaurants and supposedly the last day anyone was exposed to the contaminated scallops, that anyone infected with hepatitis a afterwards would have most likely caught it through close personal contact with an infected person? and since that is relatively a more difficult way to transmit the disease we should see the amount of new cases taking a nose dive? well we shall see.

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