Utah County Health Dept.: Hepatitis A found at 3rd Spanish Fork business

Tabitha's Pantry. Image: Google Earth

SPANISH FORK, Utah, Jan. 11, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah County Health Department has issued a warning about possible exposure to Hepatitis A at a third Spanish Fork business.

The UCHD has added Tabitha’s Way Local Food Pantry South County, at 140 N. Main St. in Spanish Fork, to the list of food establishments with possible Hepatitis A exposures in Utah County, according to a news release.

Food distributed by the pantry was donated by the Spanish Fork Olive Garden location and could potentially expose individuals to Hepatitis A due to an employee working while infectious.

Anyone who consumed food or beverages from the Tabitha’s Way Local Food Pantry South County from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3 may be affected.

Patrons who received non-canned food from the food pantry on those dates should click here to see if they need to receive a vaccination to prevent Hepatitis A illness.

Those without Internet access should call 801-851-HEPA (4372). The phone line will be staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It is extremely important for anyone who has been exposed to be vaccinated as soon as possible, officials said.

“At this point, we have plenty of Hepatitis A vaccine here at the health department,” said Ralph Clegg, UCHD Executive Director. “We are doing our best to plan ahead and don’t anticipate any issues at this point.”

The Utah County Health Department said in a news release Wednesday people who consumed food or beverages or used the restroom at the following locations on the dates shown may also be at risk:

  • Sonic Drive-In at 971 N. Main St. in Spanish Fork on Saturday, Dec. 23 through Sunday, Dec. 24.
  • Olive Garden at 1092 N. Canyon Creek Parkway in Spanish Fork on Thursday, Dec. 21 through Saturday, Dec. 30.

“People with Hepatitis A are infectious before becoming symptomatic,” the news release said. “UCHD believes these cases are linked to the ongoing outbreak Utah County and other areas of the state have been experiencing since August 2017.

“Both restaurants are cooperating fully with the health department’s investigation and response and, since discovering the possible exposure, are following additional health department recommendations.”

Infected employees can’t return to work until they are medically cleared by the health department.

Conscientious personal hygiene and hand-washing are procedures that need to be followed by employees and enforced by managers, UCHD stated, and it is recommended that food service establishments consider vaccinating their food-handling employees against Hepatitis A.

According to the news release, “Symptoms of Hepatitis A may include nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, yellowing of the eyes or skin, dark urine, diarrhea, clay-colored stools, and fatigue. Contact your healthcare provider if you are experiencing these symptoms.”

Hepatitis A vaccine is covered by most insurance plans and is widely available at local pharmacies, health care providers and Utah County Health Department immunization clinics, the release states.


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