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DOH Confirms Source of Hep A Outbreak

August 18, 2016, 3:30 PM HST
* Updated August 19, 7:45 AM
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Hepatitis virons. Author: Dr. Erskine Palmer, USCDCP

Hepatitis virons. Author:
Dr. Erskine Palmer, USCDCP

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health announced today that laboratory tests conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration on products collected this month have confirmed the presence of hepatitis A in Sea Port Bay Scallops (Wild Harvest, Raw Frozen), previously identified as the likely source of the ongoing outbreak in Hawai‘i.

A statewide embargo on the product is in place.

“I would like to thank our federal partners, the FDA and CDC for their collaboration with our staff throughout this ongoing investigation,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “The corroboration by the FDA of our data analysis and conclusions provides welcome and critical evidence for our continuing investigative work.”

The Sea Port Bay Scallops (Wild Harvest, Raw Frozen) product originated in the Philippines and states “Product of the Philippines” on the packaging. The product is produced by De Oro Resources Incorporated, which is located in Suba Basbas, Philippines, and is imported by Sea Port Products Corporation, located in Washington State.

“This laboratory confirmation is important validation of our investigation findings,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “We are also grateful to the public for their active role in adding critical pieces to solve the puzzle.”

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DOH investigation and sanitation staff have logged thousands of hours interviewing cases, gathering information, tracing products and analyzing data, according to Park. “We are continuing efforts to end this outbreak by working to assure no other product is left in the state and to monitor for those who unfortunately may have been infected and do not yet have symptoms.”

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As of Aug.17, 2016, DOH has confirmed a total of 206 cases of hepatitis A as part of this outbreak investigation.

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

Vaccination provides the best protection from hepatitis A, so any persons who may have consumed this product may want to contact their healthcare providers about receiving a vaccine or immune globulin. This 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 downloaded, or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Help prevent the spread of hepatitis A by washing your hands often and thoroughly.

For more information on proper handwashing, go online.

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