MURRAY, Utah, April 18, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Officials are warning that people who consumed any food item from the Edible Arrangements store at 5211 S. State St. in Murray between March 21 and April 13 may have been exposed to hepatitis A.
The Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) said in a news release Wednesday that health officials estimate this location sold about 600 arrangements during this time. This possible exposure affects only this Edible Arrangements store, the news release added.
This possible hepatitis A exposure occurred when an employee infected with hepatitis A worked while ill. SLCoHD believes this case is linked to the ongoing outbreak Utah has been experiencing since summer 2017, the news release said. To date, Salt Lake County has reported 153 hepatitis A cases related to that outbreak.
“We do not currently have any hepatitis A cases linked to this possible exposure at Edible Arrangements; because the incubation period for hepatitis A is two to seven weeks, we will not know for several weeks if anyone was infected from this possible exposure,” the news release said.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, which permits and regulates this Edible Arrangements location, closed the store yesterday afternoon and will supervise its sanitation before reopening. Under Salt Lake County’s food service regulation, SLCoHD will also require all store employees to be vaccinated against hepatitis A before they return to work.
“Food service establishments should consider vaccinating their employees against hepatitis A,” said Dr. Dagmar Vitek, SLCoHD medical director. “It’s also important that food handlers be conscientious with hygiene, hand washing and not working when ill—and that managers be vigilant in enforcing those important requirements that help protect public health.”
Customers who consumed Edible Arrangements items from the Murray store between the dates listed should call 385-468-INFO (4636) for further instructions. The phone line will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through at least Friday, April 20. Health department staff will screen callers for their exposure risk and, if they are eligible, provide them with options for receiving an injection to prevent hepatitis A. To be effective, the injection must be given within 14 days of the possible exposure, so people who ate items from this location between April 4 and April 13 are eligible to receive the injection.
It is too late for people who ate items from this location between March 21 and April 3 to receive the injection, so those individuals should watch for symptoms of hepatitis A and see their health care provider if they feel ill. Symptoms of hepatitis A include low fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and yellow skin and eyes.
Customers who are fully vaccinated (two doses) against hepatitis A are protected and do not need to contact the health department or receive vaccine. In July 2002, Utah began requiring hepatitis A vaccination for children entering kindergarten, so many people who began kindergarten during or after the 2002–2003 school year are likely vaccinated against hepatitis A; check your personal immunization record to be sure.
Hepatitis A vaccine is covered by many insurance plans and is available at local pharmacies, health care providers and SLCoHD immunization clinics. People not affected by this possible exposure but who would like to receive the vaccine may call 385-468-SHOT (7468) to make an appointment at a health department immunization clinic.