DETROIT, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Detroit health inspectors are looking closely at a Whole Foods Market after two cases of Hepatitis A were connected to the grocery store.
The health department said both cases of the highly contagious disease, which attacks the liver, were linked to the prepared food section at the Mack Avenue store. One case was diagnosed in an employee who handles prepared foods; the second was someone who ate at the prepared food section. Inspectors have not said if the two cases are connected.
"While it remains unclear exactly how either of these individuals contracted Hepatitis A, and we know that Whole Foods Market Detroit has a comprehensive food safety protocol, we want to do our best to protect our residents and those of surrounding communities who may have been exposed," Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, executive director of the health department, said.
Hepatitis A is a viral disease that is passed when a person ingests something contaminated by an infected person. The illness can range from mild to severe, but usually does not cause long-lasting problems. It can take months to recover from symptoms that include fever, lethargy, diarrhea and jaundice.
Whole Foods spokeswoman Allison Phelps said the store contacted the health department when it learned of the two cases and began reviewing food logs and safety procedures.
"While there is no definitive link that the second case is related to the occurrence in our store, we are cooperating fully with the Detroit Health Department to ensure the safety of our customers and team members," she said.
The heath department is urging anyone who ate prepared foods from the Whole Foods location between Oct. 6 and Oct. 12 to seek medical attention. if symptoms appear. The health department will be offering Hepatitis A screenings at two locations in Detroit.