ibusinesslines.com March 22, 2018

Customers at Utah 7-Eleven may have been exposed to hepatitis A

10 January 2018, 03:45 | Melissa Porter

Customers at Utah 7-Eleven may have been exposed to hepatitis A

Health educators at the Salt Lake County Health Department answered phones on Tuesday after the hepatitis A scare at a West Jordan 7-Eleven

A 7-Eleven convenience store in Salt Lake County, Utah, might be to blame for infecting as many as 2,000 people, according to a statement from the Salt Lake County Health Department.

Officials also ask customers who consumed the store's fresh fruit, fountain drinks or other self-serve items to contact the department.

Prepackaged items bought at the store are safe.

A spokesman said: 'People in need of prophylaxis (treatment) must receive it within a short time period of their possible exposure, so it is essential that affected customers call the health department as soon as possible'.

Any customer who used the bathroom or bought a self-serve drink, fresh fruit or an item from the hot food case between December 26, 2017 and January 3 may have been exposed, according to the Salt Lake County Health Department.

The estimate of 2,000 residents is based on the store's average sales volume, the health department said. It can also be spread by sex and illicit drug use.

Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease that is transmitted through food, water or shellfish that has been infected with the feces of a diseased person.

An employee at the 7-Eleven store located at 2666 West 7800 South in West Jordan, a suburb of Salt Lake City, was diagnosed with the disease, and apparently worked a shift at the store while the disease was transmissible and live.

"This is an important reminder to food service establishments that they should consider vaccinating their food-handling employees against hepatitis A", said Gary Edwards, Salt Lake County Health Department executive director. Symptoms include loss of appetite, stomach aches, nausea, fatigue and jaundice. In rare cases, the infection has caused death, according to the Centers for Disease and Control. "We are working closely with the Salt Lake County Health Department".

Outbreaks of hepatitis A began cropping up sporadically throughout the U.S. in March of 2017, spurring the California government to declare a public health emergency. The CDC has been working to make sure the most at-risk populations get the vaccine while waiting for more doses to be manufactured.

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