Hepatitis A Update

April 21, 2015 - The Health Unit’s two free hepatitis A clinics - held as a precautionary measure in response to a case of hepatitis A in an employee of Bight Restaurant and Bar - have wrapped up. Approximately 450 people have been vaccinated since Saturday, April 18.

At this time, no additional cases of hepatitis A have been identified in our district.

While the risk of infection is low, people who consumed food or beverages from this restaurant during the exposure period (March 23 to April 12, 2015), should continue to watch for signs of illness and contact their health care provider if they experience any of the following: fever, loss of appetite, abdominal (stomach) pain, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools or yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice). Symptoms can develop anywhere from 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus. Severity and length of symptoms can vary.

Hepatitis A is an acute disease of the liver caused by a virus and can spread from person to person or through contaminated food or water. It is found in the stool (bowel movement) of persons infected with the virus. Hepatitis A is not spread by coughing or sneezing. Hand hygiene including proper hand washing is extremely important in preventing the spread of the virus. Most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage. In rare cases, hepatitis A can be serious or life threatening to older adults or people with chronic liver disease. People who are immune-compromised or have liver disease are at higher risk for complications if they become infected with hepatitis A.

For those who missed the two Health Unit clinics and still wish to be immunized, the Health Unit has limited capacity to administer hepatitis A immunizations on Thursday and Friday of this week (April 23 & 24) on an appointment-only basis. Please call to schedule an appointment at 625-5900.

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