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Only 1 new Hepatitis A case in 2 weeks in Hawaii’s outbreak

With only one new diagnosis in the past two weeks, a Hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii appears to be contained with less than 300 people confirmed as victims.

In its weekly update Wednesday, the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) reported no new confirmed cases from Nov. 3 through 9. It recorded one new case the previous week, bringing the total number of sick people to 292.

raw scallopsAbout a fourth of the outbreak victims have had symptoms so severe that they required hospitalization. At least one death, a 68-year-old woman, is attributed to the outbreak that was traced to frozen scallops imported from the Philippines and served raw by the Genki Sushi fast food chain. Another outbreak victim died, but was terminally ill and in hospice care so health officials are not attributing that death to Hepatitis A.

“Although the 50-day maximum incubation period from the date of the scallops embargo has passed, HDOH continues to be alert for people who have had onset of illness earlier but may present late to a clinician, as well as possible secondary cases,” according to the health department update.

“Secondary cases have been rare in this outbreak and have been limited to household members of cases or close contacts of cases.”

All but 18 of the victims have been residents of Oahu. Seven victims are visitors who have returned to the mainland or overseas. Eleven outbreak victims live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai or Maui. Only Genki Sushi locations on Oahu and Kauai served the implicated scallops.

As of early November, the state’s health department had spent more than $336,000 on its outbreak investigation and response, officials tole KHON-TV Channel 2. Of that, $304,600 went for normal staff hours, and an estimated $19,750 paid for 300 hours of overtime, KHON-TV reported. The balance was spent on vaccines and shipping specimens for testing.

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