Walmart deli employee may have exposed customers to hepatitis A

Customers who bought food from the deli at the Skowhegan Walmart may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

A deli worker who was ill with hepatitis A handled food while infectious this Monday, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson Robert Long said Tuesday.

Anyone who bought food at the deli between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on May 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19 and 21 and ate it is at risk of contracting the contagious liver disease, according to Long.

Long advised anyone who bought food on those dates from the deli should throw it away. He added that no other food was potentially contaminated.

Anyone who may have eaten food purchased on the above dates should get vaccinated within 14 days of their exposure, according to Long. Those already vaccinated against hepatitis A do not need to get another dose.

A vaccination isn’t recommended for those outside the 14-day window when it is effective against infection, but they should watch for hepatitis A symptoms, which can show 15 to 50 days after exposure.

Symptoms of hepatitis A, a liver infection, include fatigue, nausea, stomach pain, dark urine and jaundice, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those can last up to two months.

Most people who contract hepatitis A do not have long-lasting illness, according to the federal health agency.

The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination, though good hand hygiene also plays an important role in preventing its spread, according to the Maine CDC. The Maine CDC strongly recommends hepatitis A vaccination for people who use drugs (injection or non-injection), people experiencing homelessness, men who have sex with men and people who are, or were recently, incarcerated.

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