Salt Lake County health officials issued a warning Sunday to people who visited a West Jordan 7-11 recently. They might have been exposed to Hepatitis A.
A worker there was infected and may have passed on the virus to customers through contaminated food and facilities, like the restroom, for the week between the day after Christmas and the day after New Year's Day. As many as 2,000 customers may have been exposed.
“There’s a window of time that individuals can receive prophylactic vaccination, and we are still in that window," says Gary Edwards, director of the health department. "And so [we] feel it is important to get word out, so individuals who would like to be vaccinated can be vaccinated.”
The warning applies only to people who visited the 7-11 store at 2666 West 7800 South in West Jordan during that one-week period. And, if customers ate fresh fruit from that store, drank self-service beverages like coffee or fountain drinks or ate hot foods like like pizza or tacquitos, they should call the Health Department to find out what to do.
The outbreak has been going on in the Salt Lake Valley since the summer, primarily in the homeless and drug-using community. Edwards says Salt Lake County is clearly in the mist of an outbreak because of the unusually high number of cases. Normally, four Hepatitis A cases are reported here each year.
“And for the last half of 2017," he says, "we had roughly 80 cases.”
People who consumed bottled drinks or packaged foods at that West Jordan store have no need to contact the health department. Nor do people who are protected with two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine. The vaccine is widely available at local pharmacies and is covered by most insurance plans.