AUGUSTA — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified a case of acute hepatitis A virus infection in a Boothbay Harbor food service worker. The individual prepared food while infectious from Aug. 18, 2019, through Sept. 8, 2019. A public health assessment of the individual’s illness determined that Cap’n Fish’s Boothbay Harbor Boat Trip patrons may be at risk for hepatitis A infection.
To reduce the likelihood of illness, Maine CDC recommends the hepatitis A vaccine to anyone who ate, drank, or worked at Cap’n Fish’s Boothbay Harbor Boat Trips in Maine on Sept. 2, 4, and 5. Immunocompromised individuals or parents of children younger than 12 months old should consult their health care providers about receiving hepatitis A immune globulin (IG). The vaccine is most effective within 14 days of exposure to the virus.
Individuals who visited the Cap’n Fish’s Boothbay Harbor Boat Trips on Aug. 19, 21, 22, 23 24, 26, 28, 29 and 30 could have been exposed but are outside the window for which the vaccine could help prevent illness from this exposure. Those individuals should watch for symptoms and seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms. Health care providers are encouraged to remain vigilant for hepatitis A infection in persons with consistent symptoms.
Maine CDC is working with the business owner and local health care providers to notify affected parties and minimize risk of further exposure.
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, contagious liver disease that is caused by the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms can range from mild illness to a severe sickness that requires hospitalization and can last several months. Most adults with hepatitis A have a sudden onset of symptoms such as tiredness, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Most children younger than 6 years old do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection. The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated.
Hepatitis A can be spread through contaminated food or water, especially in food prepared by a person who is infected. Symptoms will begin to show 15-50 days after exposure to the virus. An infected person is infectious and can spread the virus to others approximately two weeks before symptoms start until one week after symptoms end.
For more information on hepatitis A, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm