Second hep A case confirmed in deli worker in Sudbury Health unit offers vaccine to more people
A second case of hepatitis A in a food handler was reported on New Year’s Day, prompting public health officials to extend a community notice.
The new occurrence of hep A “involves an employee who, along with the first case, worked at the deli department at the Real Canadian Superstore,” according to a release issued Thursday by Public Health Sudbury and Districts. “Public Health reported on the first case on Dec. 16. Based on information to date, both cases handled only deli food and did not handle food elsewhere in the store.”
Given the new occurrence of the disease, the time period for potential exposure to hepatitis A has been lengthened.
“Anyone who ate the affected food purchased from Nov. 27 to January 2 should monitor their health, and if they ate the food in the last 14 days, they should get vaccinated,” said Ariella Zbar, associate medical officer of health, in a release.
“People who already received their vaccination do not need to be revaccinated,” Zbar added. “They are protected.”
The original date range of concern was Nov. 27 to Dec. 16.
“This is unfortunate but perhaps not unexpected,” said Stacey Laforest, director of the Health Protection Division with the health unit. “Public Health is working closely with store operators and workers, and any food that may have been at risk has been removed from sale. This development is an important reminder for those who are eligible to come in for immunization against hepatitis A and for all who have eaten these foods to monitor their health for symptoms.”
Anyone who consumed the affected food in the last two weeks qualifies for a free vaccination. A single dose is required for protection.
Individuals who ate the foods more than 14 days ago are advised to contact Public Health, monitor their health for signs and symptoms, and follow up with their health-care provider if symptoms develop.
“Clerk-served” refers to food products that are offered for sale unpackaged and then packaged by a clerk upon request by the consumer (for example, deli meat for sale at the deli counter that is sliced and packaged by a clerk).
Any affected food that was purchased during this time period should be discarded or returned to the point of purchase, the health unit advised. This food should not be eaten. To date, there is no evidence that anyone who consumed the food is infected.
Common symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, stomach pain or discomfort, dark urine, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, loss of appetite, clay or ash-coloured bowel movements, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).
The free vaccination clinics will be held at the main office of the health unit at 1300 Paris Street in Sudbury. No appointment is required, although people are encouraged to check the organization’s website, at www.phsd.ca, for clinic wait times.
Clinics will be held as follows:
– Friday, Jan. 3, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
– Saturday, Jan. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
– Sunday, Jan. 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
You can contact the health unit at 705-522-9200 (toll-free 1-866-522-9200) for more information.