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Rockwood food service worker with hepatitis A could have infected staff, patrons

Workers and patrons at The Birches Resort Restaurant from Sept. 16-Sept. 22 should get the hepatitis A vaccine within 14 days of their exposure, Maine CDC said Wed.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

ROCKWOOD, Maine — Restaurant patrons at a Rockwood restaurant are at risk for possible exposure to acute Hepatitis A after the Maine CDC identified a case of the virus in a food service worker.

The individual handled food at The Birches Resort Restaurant while infectious from September 2 through September 22.

NEWS CENTER Maine reached out to The Birches Resort for comment and is waiting for a response. 

Maine CDC recommends that anyone who may have eaten food prepared at The Birches Resort Restaurant or worked at the restaurant from September 16 through September 22 receive the hepatitis A vaccine within 14 days of their potential exposure. 

There is a 14-day window during which prophylaxis is effective after exposure. Anyone who may have had dine-in, take-out, delivery, or curbside pickup of food from the restaurant should ask a medical provider about receiving the vaccine.

People who visited the restaurant from September 2, through September 15 are outside the window for which prophylaxis is recommended, but are advised to watch for symptoms and seek medical attention should symptoms develop. 

Individuals with compromised immune systems or children younger than one-year-old who visited the restaurant during this time may benefit from hepatitis A immune globulin (IG), upon consultation with their health care providers.

The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated, the Maine CDC said.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms range from mild illness to a severe sickness that requires hospitalization and can last several months. Most adults with hepatitis A have a sudden onset of symptoms such as tiredness, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Most children younger than 6 years old do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection.

Hepatitis A can be spread through contaminated food or water, especially in food prepared by a person who is infected. Symptoms begin to show 15-50 days after exposure to the virus. An infected person can spread the virus to others approximately two weeks before symptoms start until one week after symptoms end.

For more information on hepatitis A, click here