Utah, Hepatitis A Scare

The Southeastern Utah Health Department serving Carbon, Emery and Grand counties reported vaccinating about 100 people against the Hepatitis A virus over three days last week.

No recent cases of the viral infection have been reported in the area.

State officials, however, warned Utahns last week that thousands of people who patronized four businesses in West Jordan and Spanish Fork during the last several days of 2017 and first few days of this year were potentially exposed to the liver-damaging virus.

The Utah Department of Health reported 152 confirmed Hepatitis A cases in 2017. The vast majority of those—133 cases were reported between May 8, 2017 and Jan. 2, 2018—were the result of an outbreak of the disease within the state’s homeless population.

It appears the earlier outbreak is what likely sparked this potential new food borne outbreak.

Health officials say employees infected with the virus were found working at a West Jordan 7-Eleven and three Spanish Fork establishments—an Olive Garden, Sonic Drive-In and Tabitha’s Way Local Food Pantry.

Any local residents who patronized these businesses within the relevant time periods should seek more information about their risk of exposure.

Local food establishments have been asked to be more vigilant.

“We have contacted all our restaurants to warn them to be on high alert and to review their health and sickness policies,” said Bradon Bradford, health officer at the Southeast Utah Health Department.

Hepatitis A is spread person-to-person, “usually transmitted through the fecal-oral route or consumption of contaminated food or water,” according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms usually appear from two to six weeks after exposure. Therefore, the true impact of this latest scare may not be felt for more than a month from now.

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