Possible Hepatitis A Virus Exposure at Two Restaurants in Spanish Fork, Utah

"These are both laboratory-confirmed cases", Sam Marsden, Utah County Health Department food safety program manager, tells SELF. Meanwhile Michigan, with about 25 percent of California's population, is now close to that total with 658 reported cases.

Fighting the outbreak was challenging in many jurisdictions due to a national shortage of the vaccine for hepatitis A. Officials in California stated that the San Diego hepatitis A outbreak has slowed down, but it's still active.

"The vaccine has also been made available for use to hospital emergency departments who frequently see individuals that we want to target for vaccination and jails to vaccinate on intake to the jail", Ms. Sutfin said. They are cleaning their facilities and following health department recommendations. Utah County and other areas of the state have been experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak since August 2017.

Earlier this week, the Health Department also alerted people may have been exposed to hepatitis A if they had consumed food or beverages or used the restroom at the Sonic Drive-In in Spanish Fork from Dec. 23 to Dec. 24 or at the Olive Garden in Spanish Fork from Dec. 21 to Dec. 30. "We are seeing similar hospitalization rates as San Diego, about 60%, but we have fortunately not seen any deaths".

Even though hepatitis A isn't usually deadly, given the outbreak, MDHHS is encouraging people in high-risk categories-such as people with substance abuse problems, men who have sex with men, people who have been incarcerated and people with underlying medical conditions, especially liver problems-to get vaccinated. "And everyone should practice handwashing after being in public places to protect themselves from exposure".

She also said that the majority of the state-purchased vaccines will be used by local health departments for those who have already been exposed to the virus, as well as for those who are at increased risk of infection.

"At this point we have plenty of Hepatitis A vaccine here at the health department", Ralph Clegg, the Utah County Health Department executive director, said in a statement.

Officials say an employee worked at the store between December 26 and January 3 while ill and potentially handled certain items in the store.

Having spread to Utah, the hepatitis A outbreak has infected more people with 152 cases confirmed so far, but no deaths have been reported at this point.

Hepatitis A typically spreads when traces of infected feces reach the mouth through contaminated food, water or unclean hands. The San Diego epidemic has killed 20 people and hundreds more got sick, marking the worst USA epidemic of this kind in the last two decades.

According to the news release, "Symptoms of Hepatitis A may include nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, yellowing of the eyes or skin, dark urine, diarrhea, clay-colored stools, and fatigue". The time period where people might show symptoms in the West Jordan case is only just beginning, Rupp said. This may be because infection can be more severe in liver disease or alcoholism, which are more common in the underserved population that has primarily been affected in Utah to date. The virus causes a self-limited disease that can make people quite ill, but only rarely causes liver failure or death (less than 1%).



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