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Inland Prepared for Consumer Hep A Warning

Date: 01/24/2020

Northern Light Inland Hospital, our primary care practices, and walk-in care office are prepared to care for individuals who may be affected by the hepatitis A virus infection warning in Waterville. Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, contagious liver disease.

According to a news release issued today by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, they “have identified a case of hepatitis A virus infection in a Waterville food service worker. The individual prepared food while infectious from December 27, 2019, through January 9, 2020. An assessment of the individual’s illness determined that patrons of Joseph’s Market in Waterville may be at risk for hepatitis A infection.”

The statement continued, “Individuals who purchased deli items, ready-to-eat food, or meat from Joseph’s Market in Waterville between those dates should watch for symptoms and contact a health care provider to be tested if they show any signs of infection. Deli and ready-to eat-food purchased between December 27, 2019, and January 9, 2020, should be discarded. Meat purchased between those dates should either be discarded or cooked thoroughly.”

Further details in the CDC release included advising, “Individuals who ate deli items, ready-to-eat food, or meat purchased between these dates have up to 14 days after eating it to receive Hepatitis A immune globulin (IG) or the vaccine. Contact your medical provider to discuss options. Individuals with compromised immune systems or children under one year old who ate deli items, ready-to-eat food, or meat from Joseph’s Market during this time could gain added protection by receiving the hepatitis A IG, upon consultation with their health care providers.”

Sara Donovan, RN, BSN, CIC, Infection Preventionist with Northern Light Inland Hospital echoed the CDC advice for those who are concerned. “If you feel you are at risk, reach out to your personal healthcare provider, or our Walk-In Care office at 174 Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville. Providers can help you understand the treatment options available to you.”

Donovan added that, “A person can take precautions to avoid exposure to Hep A by cooking meats thoroughly (at least one minute at 185 degrees kills the virus). People in certain risk groups and travelers to countries where Hepatitis A is common should be vaccinated. Individuals can help prevent spread of the virus by washing their hands after any contact with feces (going to the bathroom or changing a diaper, etc).”

Read the full CDC news release here

Learn more about Hepatitis on the CDC website.