Hepatitis scare at Okotoks grocery store

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Alberta Health Services is warning anyone who ate donuts at the Okotoks Safeway in the first three weeks of December could be at risk of contracting Hepatitis A. According to an AHS press release published today, a food handling employee at the store contracted Hepatitis A and anyone who bought bulk donuts at the store between Dec. 1 and Dec. 21 could have been exposed. “While we believe the risk to the public is low, hepatitis A is a serious infection,” said Dr. David Strong, AHS medical officer of health – Calgary Zone. “As a precaution, anyone who consumed unpackaged donuts produced at this location between December 1 and 21 is advised to monitor themselves and their family for symptoms for 50 days since those products were consumed.” AHS states there is no ongoing risk at the store, which has been cleaned, inspected and approvd to operate by public health inspectors. Hepatitis A immunization done after exposure can prevent illness from occuring, but only if it is provided within two weeks of the most recent exposure. Immunization clinics will be held at the Okotoks Health and Wellness Centre on Jan. 2 and 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Immunizations will only be provided to anyone who consumed donuts from the bulk bins at Okotoks Safeway between Dec. 19 and 21, immunization will not be effective for people who consumed donuts prior to Dec. 19. Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by a virus and illness can occur within 15 to 50 days after exposure. Individuals can be infectious one to two weeks before symptoms occur. Symptoms of hepatitis A may include tiredness, poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and fever, followed by dark-coloured urine, light-coloured stools, and yellowing of eyes and skin several days later. Some people, especially young children, may get hepatitis A infection without noticing any symptoms; however, they are still infectious to others. Anyone who may have been exposed, or has developed symptoms, is asked to contact Health Link at 811 for assessment of exposure and risk before atteding the clinic.

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