Detroit health authorities have linked two positive cases of hepatitis A in the city to the prepared foods section of a Whole Foods Market on Mack Avenue.
According to Fox 2 Detroit, the Detroit Health Department released a statement that the initial case was a food handler at the supermarket, and the second case likely contracted hepatitis A from the sick employee. Officials have issues a warning to customers who may have purchased and eaten prepared foods from the store between October 6-12 to get a medical check-up and seek preventive treatments.
There are three types of hepatitis, which means inflammation of the liver: A, B and C. Hepatitis A is a highly contagious condition, transmitted through fecal exposure via personal contact, or through contaminated food or water, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Getting vaccinated can help stop people from contracting hepatitis A.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, Executive Director and Health Officer at the Detroit Health Department, says,
While it remains unclear exactly how either of these individuals contracted Hepatitis A, and we know that Whole Foods Market Detroit has a comprehensive food safety protocol, we want to do our best to protect our residents and those of surrounding communities who may have been exposed.
He adds that Whole Foods has been cooperative in the matter. Store management says it began reviewing food logs and safety procedures after the first case was traced back to their store. “While there is no definitive link that the second case is related to the occurrence in our store, we are cooperating fully with the Detroit Health Department to ensure the safety of our customers and team members,” a statement from Whole Foods reads.
Hepatitis A symptoms include fever, dark urine, yellow skin and eye, joint pain and stomach pains. Not all affected individuals experience symptoms, and those who do begin to feel them from two to six weeks after initial contact. In 99% of cases, the body clears the infection out without severe health consequences.