Oregon’s  Multnomah County Health Department continues to investigate  two confirmed cases of hepatitis A in restaurant workers at two Cup & Saucer Cafes in Portland.

Health officials want anyone who ate or drank at the Cup & Saucer Cafe, 8237 N. Denver, from March 22 to March 29, to contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible to see if they need to be vaccinated or receive other recommended preventive care. Anyone who ate or drank at the 3566 S.E. Hawthorne cafe on March 22 or March 25 should do the same.

cupandsaucer_406x250People who ate or drank at the N. Denver location between February 22 and March 21 should also contact their provider if they have any symptoms of Hepatitis A (see below). No existing cases involve the Cup & Saucer Cafe at 3000 N.E. Killingsworth.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It typically causes a temporary illness of fever, tiredness, belly pain, vomiting, diarrhea and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin or eyes). It is highly contagious, and people become infected by swallowing the virus, which is present in the feces of an ill person. It can spread from person to person by inadequate handwashing after using the toilet or changing diapers, or eating food prepared by an infected person. It can also be passed by sexual contact. Hepatitis A is not spread by saliva.

A person can spread the disease without realizing it. People can be infected by as few as 10 tiny particles. A person with hepatitis A may also spread the disease up to two weeks before they become ill with symptoms.  It can take 15 to 50 days before a person who has been exposed becomes ill.  While there is no specific treatment, less than 1 percent of people become seriously ill.

Vaccinations can prevent illness

The best way to prevent hepatitis A is by getting vaccinated. Also, people who have been sick with hepatitis A in the past are protected for life. If you already know you have been vaccinated for hepatitis A, you do not need to seek preventive care at this time. Hepatitis A is now a required vaccine for Oregon children up to eighth grade, so if your school-age child is in this grade or a lower grade and is up-to-date on vaccines, he or she is protected. Also, people who served in the United States military should have received Hepatitis A vaccine, and should be protected.

The current investigation began with a case of hepatitis A reported to the Health Department on March 20. The restaurant worker stayed home from work to recover, and health officials vaccinated the restaurant staff according to public health guidelines. On Monday, April 3, a second individual connected to the cafe was confirmed as having hepatitis A. Because of possible transmission at the restaurant, health officials urge anyone who ate or drank at the two restaurants during the time frames above see their health care provider to be vaccinated or receive advice specific to their situation.

The owner, managers and staff of the Cup & Saucer Cafe have been proactive in working with Multnomah County Health Department environmental health inspectors, and are working diligently to ensure a safe establishment for patrons and workers.

“We consider the risk to be relatively low,” said Dr. Jennifer Vines, Multnomah County Deputy Health Officer. “But there are vaccines that can lower the risk of illness if given within two weeks of possible exposure.”

Vaccinations are credited for a drop in hepatitis A cases in Oregon from a high of 2,927 in 1995 to 95 cases of hepatitis A from 2012 to 2016, an average of 19 cases a year, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Oregon schoolchildren have been vaccinated for hepatitis A beginning in 2008-2009. The requirement was phased in so that all children through eighth without an exemption are required to be vaccinated against hepatitis A.