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Two Additional Hepatitis A Cases Confirmed

August 11, 2016, 10:26 AM HST
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Big Island Now stock photo.

Big Island Now stock photo.

The number of people affected by the hepatitis A outbreak in Hawai‘i continues to rise, with two additional cases confirmed in O‘ahu food service workers yesterday, Wednesday, Aug. 10, by the state Department of Health.

As a public health precaution, food handlers identified as contacts of a case must be tested for hepatitis A and found negative for the virus before returning to work.

One infected food service worker is an employee at Papa John’s restaurant, located at 94-1021 Waipahu Street, in Waipahu. The employee worked on July 23 and 24, and Aug. 2, 2016.

The other infected food service worker is an employee at New Lin Fong bakery, located at 1132 Maunakea Street, in Chinatown. The employee worked on July 20, 22-23, 25, 27, 29-30, and Aug. 1, 3, 5 and 6, 2016.

Since the DOH began its investigation, a total of 168 cases of hepatitis A have been confirmed as part of the outbreak, as of Aug. 10, 2016. DOH investigators have been working to identify the outbreak source, which was likely a product widely distributed primarily on O‘ahu.

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This information is provided to the public as a precaution in an attempt to prevent any new cases, and the likelihood that patrons of this business will become infected is very low.

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Updated case counts and information are provided online each Wednesday along with a complete list of food service establishments who have had employees diagnosed with hepatitis A infection.

“The public’s health is our primary concern, and we feel it is important to provide them with the most up-to-date information so they can work with their healthcare providers to protect themselves and their families,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “At the same time, we also want the public to understand that these businesses and the other previously affected food establishments are not the source of the outbreak.”

Vaccination provides the best protection from hepatitis A, so any person who consumed food or beverage products prepared or served at this business during the identified periods may want to contact their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving a vaccine or immune globulin (IG), which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure.

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A statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies can be found online.

Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, and before preparing food can also help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Additionally, appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

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