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Check With Your Doctor If You Recently Ate at the Waikele Center Baskin Robbins

O‘ahu’s ongoing hepatitis A outbreak continues to infect local residents; vaccinations are recommended.


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O‘ahu’s ongoing hepatitis A outbreak continues to infect local residents; vaccinations are recommended.

Photo: Thinkstock

 

If you’ve been to the Baskin Robbins shop in Waikele Center recently, you’ll want to check in with your doctor. Hawai‘i state Department of Health officials say they’re looking into a confirmed case of hepatitis A in one of the ice-cream store’s employees.

 

It’s part of an ongoing outbreak that’s so far involved 52 cases of hepatitis A on O‘ahu. State Department of Health investigators haven’t found the original source of the outbreak, but they report that anyone who consumed any food or drink products from the Baskin Robbins between June 17 and July 3 may have been exposed to the disease.

 

Unvaccinated individuals should contact their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving the hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin, which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within the first two weeks after exposure.

 

State epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park says: “This case demonstrates the potential to spread hepatitis A virus to many others who remain susceptible. In an effort to stem the spread of disease, individuals, including food service employees, exhibiting symptoms of hepatitis A infection should stay home and contact their healthcare provider.”

 

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes, and typically last several weeks to as long as two months. Treatment of hepatitis A is supportive, and most people will recover without complications.

 

While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent hand-washing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper and before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

 

You should be able to find the hepatitis A vaccine at local pharmacies. Two doses of hepatitis A vaccine, given at least six months apart, are required for lasting protection. For a list of vaccinating pharmacies, click here or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

 

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