7-Eleven Customers May Have Been Exposed to Hepatitis A

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7-Eleven Customers May Have Been Exposed to Hepatitis A

Up to 2,000 Utah customers may been exposed to Hepatitis A (HAV) after an employee infected with the disease showed up to work, according to health officials.

Customers who visited the 7-Eleven in West Jordan from December 26 through January 3 who used the bathroom or either consumed drinks or food should get injections to prevent the virus, the Salt Lake County Health Department said Sunday. Prepackaged items don't pose a risk of exposure.

Up to 2,000 people may have been exposed to Hepatitis A after eating non-packaged food items or using the restroom at a 7-Eleven store in Utah, health officials said.

Pam Davenport, spokesperson for the health department, told Mail Online that right now, it's too soon tell how many people are affected, as the symptoms can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month to surface. Customers who used the store's restroom also could be at risk.

Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease that is transmitted through food, water or shellfish that has been infected with the feces of a diseased person.

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"This is an important reminder to food service establishments that they should consider vaccinating their food-handling employees against hepatitis A", said Salt Lake County Health Department Executive Director Gary Edwards.

Hepatitis A does not cause chronic infection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It's also important that food handlers be conscientious with hygiene, hand washing and not working when ill - and that managers be vigilant in enforcing those important requirements that help protect public health".

Health officials said the store was properly sanitized, and it is safe for operation.

Outbreaks of hepatitis A began cropping up sporadically throughout the United States in March of 2017, spurring the California government to declare a public health emergency. As a result, CDC staff have been working with public health officials to target vaccinations for at-risk populations.

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