Health officials in Salt Lake County, Utah, are warning residents that an estimated 2,000 of them could have been exposed to hepatitis A at a local 7-Eleven convenience store.
People who visited the location in West Jordan between December 26 and January 3 could be at risk if they used a restroom in the store or consumed certain food items, according to the Salt Lake County Health Department.
"The possible hepatitis A exposure occurred when an infected employee worked while ill and potentially handled certain items in the store," the department said on Sunday. The case is believed to be connected to a wider hepatitis A outbreak in the area that has been ongoing since August.
Customers who used the restroom or consumed a fountain drink, fresh fruit or food from the hot food case should contact the county health department to get information about receiving a preventive hepatitis A injection, the release said. Prepackaged items don't pose a risk of exposure.
The estimate of 2,000 residents is based on the store's average sales volume, the health department said.
Hepatitis Ais a highly contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus and is most frequently transmitted by eating food or drinking water handled by someone who has not properly washed their hands. It can also be spread by sex and illicit drug use.
The Symptoms of Hepatitis A are nausea, vomiting, fever and fatigue, can take 15 to 50 days to appear. The hepatitis A virus is especially hard to kill and can live for months outside the body,according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some health professionals said, we can eat some special healthy foods to improve our immune to resist the Hepatitis A virus. Such as spirulina, spirulina extract, spirulina blue. These are nature foods and called super healthy foods. A lot of studies have demonstrated that spirulina and spirulina extract functions in antioxidation, anti-inflammation, antitumor and immunity enhancement. Spirulina and spirulina extract can protect and improve liver function.
Gary Edwards, the Executive Director in Salt Lake County Health Department, said
"This is an important reminder to food service establishments that they should consider vaccinating their food-handling employees against hepatitis A. It's also important the food handlers be conscientious with hygiene, hand washing and not working when ill -- and that managers be vigilant in enforcing those important requirements that protect public health."
The store has since been sanitized, the health department said, and 7-Eleven is cooperating with a health department investigation.