Alberta Health Services is warning people who ate at a Lethbridge restaurant may have been exposed to hepatitis A.
A food-handler who worked at Pasta Fresco and Black Tomato Lounge on Oct. 21, Oct. 22, Oct. 29, Oct. 31 and Nov. 6 was diagnosed with hepatitis A.
“While we believe the risk to the public is low, hepatitis A can be a serious infection,” South Zone medical officer of health Dr. Vivien Suttorp said. “We’re asking any patron who consumed food or beverages at these two locations on the noted dates to please watch for symptoms of hepatitis A, stay home when sick, and call their health care provider if they do begin to show symptoms.”
Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by a virus common in many parts of the developing world.
Symptoms of hepatitis A may include tiredness, poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and fever, dark-coloured urine, light-coloured stools, and yellowing of eyes and skin several days later.
Illness can occur within 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus, but usually within 28 to 30 days.
People can be infectious one to two weeks before symptoms occur until at least one week after the onset of illness.
Spread through the fecal-oral route, individuals primarily contract hepatitis A through direct contact with an infected person.
People can also contract the illness indirectly by ingesting food or water contaminated by an infected individual who does not wash hands after using the washroom, before preparing food.
Alberta Health Services has completed thorough inspections of the Pasta Fresco and Black Tomato Lounge locations, and confirmed both are in compliance with all public health codes and standards.
“These locations do not pose any risk of infection at this time,” Dr. Suttorp said. “This is a reminder of the importance of proper handwashing, staying home when sick, and ensuring your immunizations are up to date, including prior to travel.”
Although there is no specific treatment for hepatitis A, it can be prevented through vaccination.
If travelling to an area where hepatitis A is present, travellers are advised to be vaccinated against illnesses, including hepatitis A, prior to travelling.
People who have had hepatitis A infection in the past, or who have previously received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine, are not at risk of infection.
For more information on hepatitis A contact Health Link Alberta to speak to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-866-408-5465.