An employee went to work sick. Now these 7-Eleven customers may be exposed to hepatitis A

Up to 2,000 customers of a 7-Eleven store could have been exposed to hepatitis A,  Utah health officials say. 

Anyone who visited the store in West Jordan, Utah, between Dec. 26 and Jan. 3 could have come into contact with the highly contagious liver infection, the Salt Lake County Health Department announced Jan. 7. 

Those who used any restroom, drank a fountain drink, ate fresh fruit or any item from the store’s hot food case, including pizza, hot dogs, chicken wings or taquitos are at risk, the department reports. An infected 7-Eleven employee who worked while sick is the cause of the possible exposure.

“This is an important reminder to food service establishments that they should consider vaccinating their food-handling employees against hepatitis A,” Gary Edwards, Salt Lake County Health Department executive director, said in a statement. “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.”

Hepatitis A can cause mild-to-severe illness lasting weeks to months. In rare cases, the infection has caused death, according to the Centers for Disease and Control.

Customers who visited the store at 2666 West 7800 South and came in contact with the possible contaminants should call 385-468-4636 as soon as possible. Officials can discuss options for receiving a prophylactic hepatitis A vaccine, which is covered by most insurance plans.

7-Eleven is cooperating with health officials, the health department said, and has since sanitized the store. 

Salt Lake County has been experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak since August 2017.     

Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets

© 2018 USATODAY.COM


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