Case of Hepatitis A Found at Burger Boy

Published: May. 17, 2019 at 6:55 PM EDT
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The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) has identified a case of acute hepatitis A virus infection in a Caribou food service worker.

The individual prepared food at Burger Boy Restaurant while infectious from April 24, 2019 through May 13, 2019. An assessment of the employee’s illness determined that restaurant patrons may be at risk for hepatitis A infection. Maine CDC recommends that anyone who ate or worked at Burger Boy Restaurant in Caribou from May 3, 2019 through May 13, 2019 receive hepatitis A vaccine by Monday, May 27, as there is a 14-day window during which prophylaxis is effective after exposure.

Anyone who visited the restaurant from April 24, 2019 through May 2, 2019, is outside the window for which prophylaxis is recommended but should watch for symptoms and seek medical attention if symptoms develop. Individuals with compromised immune systems or children under 12 months old who visited the restaurant during this time may benefit from hepatitis A immune globulin (IG), upon consultation with their health care providers.

Health care providers are encouraged to remain vigilant for hepatitis A infection in persons with consistent symptoms.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms range from mild illness to a severe sickness that requires hospitalization and can last several months. Most adults with hepatitis A have a sudden onset of symptoms such as tiredness, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Most children younger than six years of age do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection. The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated.

Hepatitis A can be spread through contaminated food or water, especially in food prepared by a person who is infected. Symptoms begin to show 15-50 days after exposure to the virus. An infected person can spread the virus to others approximately two weeks before symptoms start until one week after symptoms end.

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