PHIADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has confirmed a case of acute Hepatitis A in an employee at the ShopRite at Oxford and Levick in Philadelphia. The store is cooperating with the Health Department. No additional cases have been reported, and no other stores are affected.
The risk of infection is low, but individuals who handled raw beef or pork or consumed undercooked meat from the store's meat counter between January 4th and January 21st, 2024, are recommended to receive the Hepatitis A vaccine. Those who have previously been vaccinated or have had Hepatitis A before do not need to be vaccinated.
To facilitate vaccination, the Health Department offers free Hepatitis A vaccines on Saturday, January 27th, at District Health Center #10 on Cottman Ave from 8 am to noon. Vaccines can also be obtained through healthcare providers or pharmacies. Frozen beef or pork purchased during the specified dates should be discarded, and heating food to at least 185°F for a minute can eliminate the virus. Freezing does not kill the virus.
Hepatitis A spreads through inadequate hand hygiene after using the bathroom and handling food. Infected individuals can transmit the virus for two weeks before symptom onset and up to one week afterward. Symptoms typically appear within two to six weeks and may range from mild to severe, including jaundice, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and stomach pain. While there is no specific treatment, most people recover at home, though some may require hospitalization. Contact a doctor if symptoms develop.
Prevention measures include vaccination, proper hand hygiene, and thorough handwashing after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling food.