Weird messaging: Maine health alert issued for hepatitis A with no details on location

If I were a food business owner I’d be worried about hepatitis A. Individuals can shed the virus without showing symptoms (for 30 days) and even a hep A positive handwashing superstar still could result in lineups outside the business or at the health department while patrons get their post-exposure shots.

Except in Maine. Unknown-17

A health alert has been issued by officials stating that people may have been exposed to the hep a after a food handler tested positive somewhere in Cumberland County. Bizarrely, that’s all they said.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a health alert about hepatitis A.

The center said that a food service worker at a Cumberland County restaurant tested positive for the virus. Maine CDC did not identify the location but said the person was working with food between Sept. 29 and Oct. 11.

Patrons at the unnamed restaurant may be at risk for infection.

Anyone experiencing fever, jaundice, nausea, clay-colored stool and dark urine are urged to get tested, Maine CDC said.

Dr. Sheila Pinette, director of the Maine CDC, refused to comment on Thursday.

So if you ate at any restaurants in Cumberland County a month ago you might have been exposed to hepatitis A. Or maybe not. Please check your poop and urine.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.