MERIDIAN, Idaho — A case of hepatitis A has been confirmed in a food service employee who worked while contagious at the Frontier Club, at 116 E. Broadway Avenue in Meridian, according to the Central District Health Department.
CDHD officials say the employee worked while contagious on from 9 p.m. to about 2 a.m. (closing time) on Friday, August 2 and Saturday, August 3.
Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver and can make people sick for a number of weeks.
On July 17, the CDHD confirmed a case of hepatitis A in a food service worker employed at Saint Lawrence Gridiron, a restaurant located at 705 W. Bannock Street in Boise.
And on August 9, health officials confirmed Hepatitis A in a food service worker employed at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews, at 211 W. Parkcenter Blvd. in Boise.
People who were recent patrons of these establishments are encouraged to check their vaccine records to determine if they have received the hepatitis A vaccine. Those who are unvaccinated and were potentially exposed can receive protection from hepatitis A if they get immunized within two weeks of the date they were exposed, health experts said.
You’ll need to check your vaccine records if you were at a customer at the Parkcenter Red Robin on the following dates and times:
July 18 – before 5 pm
July 19 – after 4 pm
July 20 – before 3 pm
July 21 – after 5 pm
July 22 – after 4 pm
July 24 – before 3 pm
July 27 – before 4 pm
July 28 – anytime
July 31 – anytime
August 1, 2, 3 – after 5 pm
August 4 – after 4 pm
August 5 – before 4 pm
August 7 – anytime
Because the investigation is ongoing, it is possible that dates could change, the CDHD said. Any updates to this list will be posted at www.cdhd.idaho.gov/dac-hepA[cdhd.idaho.gov].
You’ll also need to check your records if you were served at the Saint Lawrence Gridiron:
June 21 to June 24
June 27 to July 1
July 5 to July 8
July 11 to July 14
The Central District Health Department and state public health officials have been investigating a hepatitis A outbreak that began emerging earlier this year.
To date, 26 cases of hepatitis A have been confirmed in Ada and Elmore counties. Neighboring counties -- including Canyon, Blaine and Twin Falls -- have also seen a recent increase in hepatitis A cases, bringing the state count to 44 since Jan. 1 of this year. Last year, only eight cases of hepatitis A were reported in Idaho, with only one of those cases in Ada County.
“If it has been longer than two weeks since the potential exposure date, you are outside the window for protection from this exposure. Though the risk of becoming infected with hepatitis A through an infected food service worker is low, you are encouraged to watch for symptoms, which usually start within 28 days of exposure, but can occur anywhere from 15 to 50 days of exposure; said CDHD spokesperson Christine Myron.
Symptoms may include abdominal pain, dark urine, fatigue, fever, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), light-colored stools, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. If symptoms occur, seek medical attention. Not everyone infected with hepatitis A will experience all of the symptoms and some will not have any symptoms.
Central District Health is offering hepatitis A vaccine to patrons who may have been exposed at these establishments during the above dates and time frames identified. Where applicable, insurance will be billed, but there will be no out-of-pocket cost to the public.
Vaccine status can often be determined by your health care provider. Impacted patrons and employees can call CDHD to look up their vaccine status, make a vaccine appointment, or ask questions related to hepatitis A and potential exposure by calling 208-321-2222 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Messages left after hours will be returned the following business day.
Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver and easily spreads by entering the mouth after someone touches an object, food or drink contaminated with the virus. If an infected person does not wash their hands well, especially after using the bathroom, small amounts of virus can spread from the hands of the infected person to other objects, surfaces, and food. The virus can make people sick for a number of weeks.
Some people are at a higher risk for getting hepatitis A, including:
-Those who are living with or caring for a person who already has hepatitis A
-People living homeless, especially those living unsheltered without good access to sanitation, hygiene and handwashing facilities
People who have sex with someone who has Hepatitis A
-Men who have sex with men
-Illicit drug users (does not have to be injection drugs)
-People with clotting disorders like hemophilia
People with chronic liver disease, including hepatitis B and hepatitis C are at increased risk for severe infections.
Hepatitis A vaccination is the best prevention. The shot is safe and effective; anyone who wants to reduce their risk of hepatitis A should get vaccinated. Anyone who is in the higher risk group should receive the hepatitis A vaccine to protect themselves, health experts say.
Since 1999, children in Idaho routinely receive Hepatitis A vaccine on the recommended vaccine schedule. Central District Health is offering free vaccine to qualifying individuals. Visit cdhd.idaho.gov/dac-hepA to learn more.