Editor’s platform: Pennsylvania health official to name Italian restaurant and hepatitis A exposure dates

The clock is turning.

Failure to name the restaurant and dates of exposure robs residents of Pennsylvania of vital information so they can know if they have been exposed and have time to receive a potentially life-saving hepatitis A vaccine or an injection of immunoglobulins (IGs) within two weeks of exposure

Pennsylvania Department of Health and Montgomery County Department of Public Health announcement January 5 that they investigate and burst hepatitis A virus infections associated with an Italian restaurant in Montgomery County, southeastern Pennsylvania.

According to the departments, there are eight confirmed infections among Pennsylvania residents in this outbreak. Of the seven for which information was available, six were hospitalized. The death of one of them is under investigation.

However, health officials did not name the restaurant or the town it was in.

Health services recommend that health care providers:

  • Consider hepatitis A as a diagnosis in anyone with jaundice or elevated liver enzymes and clinically compatible symptoms of acute hepatitis.
  • Confirm a diagnosis of hepatitis A by testing serum for the presence of immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies to hepatitis A virus and report all cases via PA-NEDSS.
  • Encourage people who have been recently exposed to HAV and who have not been vaccinated to receive a dose of hepatitis A single antigen vaccine or immunoglobulin (IG) as soon as possible, within 2 weeks of treatment. exposure.

According to the advisory, hepatitis A is a highly contagious and vaccine-preventable liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus, with severe infections that last for weeks to months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from an object, food or drink contaminated with a small amount of undetected feces of an infected person. Hepatitis A can also be spread through close personal contact with an infected person, such as an infected restaurant worker.

Health departments should immediately inform the public of the name of the restaurant and the dates of potential exposure so that customers can “receive a dose of hepatitis A single antigen vaccine or immunoglobulin (IG) as soon as possible,” within 2 weeks. after the exhibition. “

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