Utah 7-11 Customers Potentially Exposed To Hepatitis A

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A 7-Eleven convenience store in Salt Lake County, Utah, might be to blame for infecting as many as 2,000 people, according to a statement from the Salt Lake County Health Department.

The department urged residents to get an injection if they used the bathroom, ate any fresh fruit or food from the hot case at the locale. Prepackaged items don't pose a risk of exposure.

Any customers who visited the convenience store between December 26 and January 3 and used the store's restroom are asked to contact the health department immediately for information on receiving a vaccine to prevent hepatitis A. Based on the store's average sales health officials estimate up to 2,000 customers could be affected. Customers who used the store's restroom also could be at risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HAV is generally transmitted via person to person through consuming contaminated foods, drinking contaminated water, or via feces.

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7-Eleven is cooperating with the department's investigation and has sanitized the store after the exposure, health officials added. Symptoms include loss of appetite, stomach aches, nausea, fatigue and jaundice. The health warning only extends to one store, where an infected employee worked while ill, the Salt Lake County Health Department 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 health and safety of our customers is our top priority", 7-Eleven said in a statement.

It is likely the employee was infected with hepatitis A as part of a larger outbreak which has been ongoing in Salt Lake County since August 2017, according to the health department. The CDC has been working to make sure the most at-risk populations get the vaccine while waiting for more doses to be manufactured.

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