OCEAN CITY – The Cape May County Health Department and New Jersey Department of Health today confirmed a single case of hepatitis A in a food worker employed at Dunkin’ Donuts in Ocean City.
The individual worked while they were potentially infectious Sunday through Thursday, Jan. 27-31. According to a release, Dunkin’ Donuts management is cooperating with sanitary procedures and the investigation.
While the risk to people who ate or drank beverages at the Ocean City Dunkin’ Donuts is low, out of an abundance of caution, the Cape May Health Department is recommending that anyone who ate or drank there receive “post-exposure prophylaxis.” Those who have already been vaccinated against hepatitis A do not need to receive PEP.
PEP consists of hepatitis A vaccine and/or immune globulin, which can further reduce the risk of acquiring hepatitis A. To be effective, PEP should be received as soon as possible, but no later than Feb.14, accordiing to a notice from the Cape May County Health Department.
Dunkin’ Donuts worked closely with health department staff and all employees affected were identified and are able to return to work after receiving PEP. The restaurant has now been cleared to reopen.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts, or from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces or stool of an infected person. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis A can include:
• Loss of appetite
• Abdominal discomfort
• Dark urine
• Clay-colored bowel movement
• Joint pain
• Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
Signs and symptoms usually appear 2-4 weeks after exposure, although they may occur 2-7 weeks after exposure. Children under 6 years of age with hepatitis A often do not have or show few signs and symptoms.
Those suspecting that they have symptoms of hepatitis A should contact their healthcare provider. Persons and healthcare providers with questions or needing more information on hepatitis A can contact the Cape May County Health Department at 609 465-1200, or see www.cmchealth.net.