Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Health officials warn of hepatitis A at West Jordan 7-Eleven

An infected employee at a Utah 7 Eleven may have exposed co-workers and thousands of customers to hepatitis A Michigan's hepatitis A outbreak now nation's deadliest
Patty Aguilar | 12 January, 2018, 16:29

"We want to be part of the solution".

Officials said 7-Eleven is cooperating with the health department's investigation and has sanitized the store.

"People with Hepatitis A are infectious before becoming symptomatic", the news release said.

The hepatitis A outbreak that has resulted in 133 confirmed cases in Utah since May has so far predominantly affected people who are homeless, use recreational drugs or are incarcerated, which has allowed health administrators to specially target their messaging campaigns and on-the-spot vaccination drives over the last several months.

"At this point we have plenty of Hepatitis A vaccine here at the health department", says Ralph Clegg, UCHD Executive Director. It is in Robinson's opinion that there was a zero percent chance that the donated food was contaminated by the infected employee.

Officials urge patrons of any of the three Utah County locations to swiftly determine if they have been previously vaccinated and to seek one from their health provider if not - although for many it may be too late, as the vaccine must be administered within 14 days of an exposure to be effective.

According to the Utah Department of Health, there have been 133 confirmed cases of hepatitis A connected to the outbreak since January 1 of a year ago, and health officials estimate an employee at the 7-Eleven may have transmitted hepatitis A to up to 2,000 customers.

Rich Jeffers, senior director of communication for Darden Restaurants, said the individual who was diagnosed with hepatitis A was a front-of-house staff member and would not have come in contact with the food that was given to Tabitha's Way. You can enter your contact information at the Utah Department of health site and someone will contact you within two days.

Jason Acock, a spokesman for Sonic Drive-In, referred to the infected worker as "a former drive-in employee" in a statement. Employees who have been diagnosed with hepatitis A worked at those locations. Because it may take between two and seven weeks for people to start showing symptoms, "we may not know if anyone was infected due to the possible exposure at 7-Eleven for weeks still", Rupp says. Because of that, officials are recommending that everyone who can get this vaccination.

"The drive-in has a history of good health inspection ratings and has taken additional steps with the guidance of the health department to limit any potential spread of this illness", Acock said.

"It's better to be safe than sorry, and out of abundance of caution we are saying anything that's not canned", she said.

"What we reiterate on all our inspections is every establishment needs to have an employee health policy where employees are trained on certain symptoms to look out for, and certain disease diagnoses to look out for to report to management", he said.

Aislynn Tolman-Hill, spokeswoman for the Health Department, said they are taking extra precautions to ensure that the community is protected.

The Utah County Health Department has issued a warning about possible exposure to Hepatitis A at a third Spanish Fork business. The public hotline-801-851-HEPA (4372)-has received about 300 calls since the press release was issued on January 8.

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