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Health officials warn of hepatitis A exposure at 7-Eleven in Salt Lake County

Exposure to hepatitis A may have occurred at a 7-Eleven in Salt Lake County after an infected employee worked while i...

Posted: Jan 8, 2018 3:32 PM
Updated: Jan 8, 2018 3:32 PM

Exposure to hepatitis A may have occurred at a 7-Eleven in Salt Lake County after an infected employee worked while ill and potentially handled certain items in the store, officials warned Sunday.

The possible exposure would have occurred at the 7-Eleven located at 2666 W. 7800 South in West Jordan, the Salt Lake County Health Department said in an email.

Any customers who visited the convenience store between Dec. 26 and Jan. 3 and used the store's restroom are asked to contact the health department immediately for information on receiving a vaccine to prevent hepatitis A.

Health officials also ask customers who consumed fresh fruit from the store, fountain drinks or other self-serve beverages and any item from the hot food case - such as pizza, hot dogs, chicken wings or taquitos - to contact the health department immediatly.

Anyone possibly exposed to hepatitis A should receive a prophylactic hepatitis A vaccine within a short time frame from their exposure.

"It is essential that affected customers call the health department as soon as possible," the release read.

The possible exposure affects only this 7-Eleven location, officials said. Based on the store's average sales health officials estimate up to 2,000 customers could be affected.

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.

Any customers who are fully vaccinated with two doses against hepatitis A are also not at any health risk, officials said.

Those who used the store's restroom or consumed fresh fruit, fountain drinks or any hot food case items and are not vaccinated for hepatitis A are urged to call the health department at 385-468-4636.

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.

The health department believes this case could be linked to the ongoing outbreak Salt Lake County has experienced since August.

Officials said 7-Eleven is cooperating with the health department's investigation and has sanitized the store according to health department recommendations.

"This is an important reminder to food service establishments that they should consider vaccinating their food-handling employees against hepatitis A," said Gary Edwards, Salt Lake County Health Department executive 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."

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