Buffalo County Public Health has identified a confirmed case of hepatitis A infection in a food service worker at Hansen’s IGA grocery store in Mondovi, Wis. The store remains open for business and is working with the Buffalo County Public Health during the investigation.
Although the overall risk of contracting hepatitis A is low, people who purchased deli items and produce are at a slightly higher risk because those foods are often not cooked further before they are eaten. Buffalo County Health officials are advising people who shopped at the Mondovi Hansen’s IGA between October 28 and November 17 and ate food from the deli to call their doctor to discuss their risk of exposure to the hepatitis A virus and options for vaccination (if not already vaccinated). There is no risk of exposure outside these dates.
Symptoms of hepatitis A can include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, clay-colored stool, fever, chills, and yellow skin and eyes (jaundice). Hepatitis A symptoms occur between 15 and 50 days after exposure and can last for several weeks to months. Most people recover from hepatitis A on their own, but occasionally patients may need to be hospitalized. Hepatitis A is rarely fatal. Antibiotics do not work against the hepatitis A virus.
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease. If given within 14 days of exposure, hepatitis A vaccine or immunoglobulin can prevent illness.
The best ways to prevent the spread of hepatitis A are:
• Get a hepatitis A vaccine
• Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing a diaper. Hand sanitizer is NOT effective against hepatitis A virus.
• Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before and during food preparation and before eating food.
• Avoid undercooked or raw shellfish.
• Do not prepare food for others if you are ill.
If you do not have insurance coverage, hepatitis A vaccine is available at the Buffalo County Public Health located at 407 South Second Street, Alma. Call 608-685-4412 to make an appointment. The vaccine may also be available at many clinics and pharmacies. More information about hepatitis A is available at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/viral-hepatitis/hav.htm.