The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has recently confirmed that a person who works at the ShopRite at Oxford and Levick, located at 6301 Oxford St, Philadelphia, has acute hepatitis A. The store is aware of the situation and is working collaboratively with the Health Department.

No additional ill people have been reported and no other stores are affected. While the risk of Hepatitis A infection is very low, the Health Department recommends that people who handled raw beef or pork or ate undercooked beef or pork purchased from the store’s meat counter between Jan. 4 and Jan. 21 receive hepatitis A vaccine as soon as possible. People who have previously received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine OR have had Hepatitis A in the past do not need to be vaccinated.

For those who may have had an exposure to the recent Hepatitis A case, the Health Department is offering free hepatitis A vaccine on Saturday, Jan. 27th from 8 a.m. to noon at District Health Center #10 located at 2230 Cottman Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19149. People who need hepatitis A vaccine also can contact their healthcare provider’s office or visit a pharmacy to receive vaccine. The Health Department maintains a website of pharmacies where people who have insurance can be vaccinated for hepatitis A. If you need assistance getting hepatitis A vaccine, contact the Health Department at 215-685-5488 during business hours (Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Beef or pork that was purchased during the above-mentioned times and frozen should be discarded as a precaution. Heating food and liquids to temperatures of 185 degrees F (85 degrees C) for at least 1 minute can kill the virus. Exposure to freezing temperatures does not kill the virus.

Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver. It can spread when a person who has Hepatitis A does not wash their hands very thoroughly after using the bathroom and then prepares food. A person with Hepatitis A virus can spread the virus to others for two weeks before they have symptoms of liver infection through one week after these symptoms start. People infected with Hepatitis A usually develop symptoms two to six weeks after they had contact with the virus. Illness can range from mild cases of diarrhea and vomiting to more severe symptoms of jaundice. Other symptoms include fever, low energy, stomach pain, and dark urine. There is no medication to treat Hepatitis A. Many people get better on their own at home, but some people can become very sick and need to be hospitalized.

If you develop hepatitis A symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination with the Hepatitis A vaccine. To get the full benefit of the hepatitis A vaccine, more than one shot is needed. Practicing good hand hygiene – including thoroughly washing hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food – plays an important role in preventing the spread of hepatitis A.

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