An employee at the Good Food Store in Missoula, MT, has tested positive for Hepatitis A, according to the Missoula City-County Health Department. The department announced Thursday that the individual prepared foods for the self-serve salad bar at the store, and that anyone who ate there between Aug. 15 and Sept. 13 may have been exposed to the virus. “While the food service employee was excluded from work during most of the time that they had symptoms, there is a potential for customer exposure because Hepatitis A can be spread before a person has symptoms — before they know they are infectious or ill,” the department stated. People who ate at the Good Food Store salad bar within the past two weeks and have not been previously immunized for Hepatitis A should consider getting an immunization as soon as possible. Being immunized within two weeks of exposure may protect people from getting the disease, the department added. Anyone who ate from the store’s salad bar after Aug. 15 should watch for symptoms of Hepatitis A exposure. These include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, joint pain, abdominal cramping, jaundice and clay-colored stools. Those who experience such symptoms are urged to contact the health department at 406-258-3896 or a health care provider. According to the local health department, the Good Food Store “followed proper sick employee exclusion rules and has excellent policies, practices, and facilities for food handling and hand washing.” “We appreciate the Good Food Store’s cooperation and transparency on this matter and their efforts to mitigate any risk to public health,” the department noted. “At this time there are no other known cases of Hepatitis A in Missoula and we will update the public as more information becomes available.” People with questions about Hepatitis A disease and immunizations can call the city-county health department at 406-258-3500 or visit here. Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by a virus. Hepatitis A is highly contagious and is usually transmitted by the fecal-oral route, either through person-to-person contact or through consumption of contaminated food or water.
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