Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) released a recent update about the hepatitis A outbreak in the state. According to the department two new cases has been reported in O‘ahu food service workers, Wednesday, Aug. 10.
This outbreak has increased to 168 confirmed cases, an increment of 33 cases in one week. A total of 43 victims underwent hospitalization, which were 39 victims last week. According to the HDOH’s Disease Outbreak Control Division, all the cases have been reported in adults. Till now nine food service employees have been confirmed as having Hepatitis A. Officials caution that this does not mean the institution where they were employed is the source of the outbreak.
Health care providers have advised to inform any suspected cases of the disease to health officials immediately, and a number of pharmacy vaccination sites have been made available for those people wishing to be vaccinated.
Experts says, Hepatitis A is usually spread by eating contaminated food or drinking water, and can be spread through close personal or sexual contact. One infected food service worker is an employee at Papa John’s restaurant, located at 94-1021 Waipahu Street, in Waipahu. The other infected food service worker is an employee at New Lin Fong bakery, in Chinatown.
“The public’s health is our primary concern, and we feel it is important to provide them with the most up-to-date information so they can work with their healthcare providers to protect themselves and their families,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “At the same time, we also want the public to understand that these businesses and the other previously affected food establishments are not the source of the outbreak.”
DOH detectives have been operational to identify the outbreak source, which was probably a product widely distributed mainly on O‘ahu.
This information is provided to the public as a precaution in an effort to prevent any new cases of the disease.