Health officials issued a warning Sunday evening that some customers at a West Jordan convenience store may have been exposed to hepatitis A and should receive an injection to prevent infection.
The possible exposure occurred when an infected employee worked while ill and potentially handled certain items in the store.
The company says as many as 2,000 people could be impacted.
The stricken store was said to be "cooperating fully" with an investigation into the health breach, and has since been sanatized to meet department standards. Authorities say they believe the possible exposure is related to an outbreak of hepatitis A in Salt Lake County that has been going on since August 2017.
Customers who consumed any packaged items from the store, including bottled drinks and microwaved foods, are not at risk for exposure and do not need to contact the heath department, officials said.
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Beginning Jan. 8, the phone line will be staffed from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m. for health department personnel to screen callers for their exposure risk and provide further instructions.
A spokesman said: 'People in need of prophylaxis (treatment) must receive it within a short time period of their possible exposure, so it is essential that affected customers call the health department as soon as possible'. According to the Salt Lake County Health Department, anyone who consumed a fountain beverage, fresh fruit or food from the hot food case, like pizza or hot dogs, could be affected. If immunoglobulin is not available, hepatitis A vaccine can be substituted. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis but a virus often causes hepatitis.
In November 2017, the CDC said the U.S.is experiencing a shortage of the hepatitis A vaccine after a surprisingly high number of outbreaks across the country, according to CNN.
Most people who get hepatitis A feel sick for several weeks, but they usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. He says it's rare for a person exposed to develop an acute illness, but if it does happen it can seriously damage the liver and in rare cases be life threatening.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HAV is generally transmitted via person to person through consuming contaminated foods, drinking contaminated water, or via feces.