Maine CDC confirms hepatitis A case linked to Presque Isle restaurant
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has identified a case of acute hepatitis A viral infection in Presque Isle.
Close contacts at risk are currently being notified and that the only potential risk to the public at this time involves those who ate at the Mai Tai Restaurant, CDC officials stated in a Friday press release. The individual that has acquired hepatitis A served food and drinks at the restaurant while infectious on May 26 and June 2.
Maine CDC recommends that anyone who ate or worked at the Mai Tai Restaurant in Presque Isle between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on June 2 receive the hepatitis A vaccine by Sunday, June 16, as there is a 14-day window during which prophylaxis is effective after exposure.
Anyone who visited the restaurant between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on May 26 is outside the window for which prophylaxis is recommended but should watch for symptoms and seek medical attention if symptoms develop. Individuals with compromised immune systems or children under 12 months old who visited the restaurant during this time may benefit from hepatitis A immune globulin (IG), upon consultation with their health care providers.
Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital will be offering shots Saturday, June 15, until 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 16, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Walk-In Care on North Street in Presque Isle. The hospital will continue to provide vaccines at the North Street Walk-In Clinic from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily until all of those who may have been exposed are treated.
Health care providers are encouraged to remain vigilant for hepatitis A infection in persons with consistent symptoms.
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms 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). The majority of children younger than 6 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 begin to show 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus. An infected person can spread the virus to others approximately two weeks before symptoms start until one week after symptoms end.
The Presque Isle case is the third confirmed hepatitis A case to occur within this past month in Aroostook County. In May local clinics gave nearly 1,000 vaccinations to customers of the Burger Boy restaurant in Caribou after the CDC confirmed that an employee had served food while infected.
Most recently RSU 39 in Caribou alerted parents and staff that an individual associated with Caribou High School had been diagnosed with hepatitis A. While there is no risk to students or the public, RSU 39 officials encouraged parents to reach out to their child’s primary care provider if they see signs or symptoms of the disease.
For information on hepatitis A, visit cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm.