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Health Department Responds to Confirmed Hepatitis A Case in Trader Joe’s Employee

March 20, 2019

On Thursday, March 14, 2019, state health officials notified the Cambridge Public Health Department (CPHD) that an employee of Trader Joe’s, 211 Alewife Brook Parkway, in Cambridge had a laboratory-confirmed case of hepatitis A.  
 
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health determined that this individual’s contagious period was from mid-February through March 10. The individual is not believed to have acquired the virus while working at Trader Joe’s. 
 
CPHD has been collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on this investigation. CPHD has identified employees who may have been exposed, contacted them, and has been confirming their vaccination status. Of those employees who were exposed, many have shown proof of immunity or gotten vaccinated with the time frame necessary to prevent infection. Any exposed employee who cannot show proof of immunity or does not get vaccinated will be excluded from work.  
 
State and local health officials believe the risk to the public is very low given how the hepatitis A virus is transmitted and that the worker was not serving food to customers during the contagious period.
 
CPHD will continue to monitor the situation until the end of March.
 
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.
 
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease. The Cambridge Public Health Department encourages anyone who wants protection against hepatitis A infection to get vaccinated. 
 
More Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

 
MEDIA CONTACT

Suzy Feinberg, MPH
Public Information Officer
617-665-3833
sfeinberg@challiance.org


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