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2,000 people possibly exposed to hepatitis A at Utah 7-Eleven

By
Daniel Uria
About 2,000 customers at a Utah 7-Eleven location may have been exposed to hepatitis A, the Salt Lake County Health Department said. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI
About 2,000 customers at a Utah 7-Eleven location may have been exposed to hepatitis A, the Salt Lake County Health Department said. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Health officials in Utah warned as many as 2,000 people may have been exposed to hepatitis A at a local 7-Eleven store.

Salt Lake County Health Department announced Sunday customers who visited the West Jordan location between Dec. 26 and Jan. 3 may have been exposed to hepatitis A if they used the restroom at the store or consumed certain items.

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"The possible hepatitis A exposure occurred when an infected employee worked while ill and potentially handled certain items in the store," the health department said.

Items potentially at risk of exposure included fountain drink or other self-serve beverage, fresh fruit and any hot food case item such as pizza, hot dogs, chicken wings, or taquitos.

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Packaged items, including bottled beverages and microwaved foods were not implicated for potential exposure.

Customers who consumed any of those items and aren't fully vaccinated against hepatitis A were encouraged to contact the health department for information about receiving an injection to prevent hepatitis A.

"People in need of prophylaxis must receive it within a short time period of their possible exposure, so it is essential that affected customers call the health department as soon as possible," the department said.

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Gary Edwards, the health department's executive director, said the incident should remind food service establishments to be conscious about enforcing hygiene.

"This is an important reminder to food service establishments that they should consider vaccinating their food-handling employees against hepatitis A," Edwards said. "It's also important that food handlers be conscientious with hygiene, hand washing and not working when ill -- and that managers be vigilant in enforcing those important requirements that help protect public health."

The 7-Eleven store has been sanitized and is fully cooperating with the health department.

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