Hepatitis A alert for thousands of Starbucks customers

Camden County health officials in New Jersey are urging people to get vaccinated against hepatitis A after a Starbucks employee tests positive for the virus. Thousands of customers could have been infected.

The County Health Department reported last week that a food handler employed at a Starbucks restaurant in Gloucester Township had been working for some time while he was contagious. People who were there on the relevant dates are encouraged to get vaccinated “By excess of caution”, and the department offers free shots.

“Our top priority is to ensure that everyone involved remains safe and healthy,” health officer Paschal Nwako said. “We encourage anyone who thinks they have been exposed to get the hepatitis vaccine. “

Viral disease is more prevalent in places with poor sanitation because it is spread through food and water contaminated with feces. The store in question was inspected after its employee tested positive and no violations were found, the department said.

The employee is not currently working at Starbucks, the statement said. His relatives have been identified. The store remained closed until all of its employees were vaccinated.

In the six shifts the infected worker worked in November, up to 4,000 people were able to visit Starbucks, county officials estimated. Camden County spokesman Dan Keeshan told media he and his 8-year-old daughter were among the at-risk group. He went to get his jab and “Finally I feel good” he said.

People infected with hepatitis A may be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms such as fever, nausea and vomiting for a few weeks. But in some severe cases, it can last for months and cause liver failure. Vaccination is effective in preventing infections, while no specific treatment for the virus is available.

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