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No new Hepatitis A cases in Hawaii outbreak during past week

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 22:31
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For the first time since July 6, Hawaii’s weekly Hepatitis A outbreak update did not include any new cases this week. The victim count held steady at 291.

When the Hawaii Department of Health first informed the public of the outbreak, the cause was a mystery. People started getting sick with the virus on June 12. More than two months later officials identified frozen scallops from the Philippines and served raw at Genki Sushi restaurants as the source.

State health officials impounded the implicated scallops and closed down the restaurants for cleaning and sanitizing, but people kept getting sick. That was expected — and continues to be expected — because it can take up to 50 days for a person to develop symptoms after exposure. The most recent person to be confirmed as part of the outbreak became ill on Oct. 9.

Although it’s been more than 50 days since restaurants stopped serving the implicated scallops, additional cases can occur because infected people can spread the disease to their family and other people they are in close contact with, according to Hawaii Epidemiologist Sarah Park.

Also, there continues to be a risk that a handful of employees at other restaurants who have been confirmed with the outbreak strain may have exposed customers.

A list of the restaurants where at least one employee has been identified with the outbreak strain of Hepatitis A is posted on the health department’s website, along with the dates they worked when they were contagious.

“This list does not indicate these businesses are sources of this outbreak; at this time, no infections have been linked to exposure to these businesses,” according to the weekly update posted Wednesday.

“The likelihood that patrons of these businesses will become infected is very low. However, persons who have consumed food or drink products from these businesses during the identified dates of service should contact their healthcare provider for advice and possible preventive care.”

Following are the restaurants remaining on the list as of Wednesday:

Business Island    Location   Dates of Service
Harbor Restaurant at Pier 38 Oahu    Honolulu (1133 North Nimitz Highway)   Aug. 26 through Sept. 12
Ohana Seafood at Sam’s Club Oahu    Pearl City (1000 Kamehameha Highway)   Aug. 29 through Sept. 11
Chart House Restaurant Oahu    Waikiki (1765 Ala Moana Boulevard)   Sept. 1–4 and 8–11
McDonald’s Oahu    Kahala (4618 Kilauea Avenue)   Sept. 20–21, 23–24, 27–29, and Oct. 1, 4–5, 7, and 11

For additional details on the outbreak and investigation, please see our previous coverage:

FDA confirms Hepatitis A in scallops; multi-state recall begins
228 Hepatitis A cases in Hawaii; lawsuit could include 10,000
A fourth of Hawaii’s Hepatitis A victims admitted to hospitals

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