Philadelphia health officials are asking people to get vaccinated after a worker at a popular South Philly grocery store was treated for “acute” Hepatitis A.
The employee, who is not being identified, works at the Acme market at 1400 E. Passyunk Ave., the Philadelphia Department of Public Health said in a news release.
Though the likelihood of infection is “very low,” people who ate pre-cut fruit and vegetables bought at the store between March 17 and March 29 should get vaccinated for the virus “as soon as possible,” the department said.
In a statement, ACME said the store was notified by the city’s Department of Health on Tuesday, April 2, about the infected employee.
“The health and safety of our customers and associates is ACME’s number one priority,” a representative for the store said in an emailed statement. “Once we were made aware, we began working directly with the Department of Public Health to take the proper actions necessary, including extensive cleaning of all areas that this associate potentially came in contact with, as well as offering Hepatitis A vaccines for individuals 18 years and older at our pharmacy.”
Those who have previously received two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine or who have had Hepatitis A do not need to get vaccinated again, the health department said. Anyone looking to get vaccinated can call the PDPH at 215-685-6741 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
“The store is aware of the situation and is working collaboratively with the health department,” the PDPH.
Hepatitis A infects the liver and is usually spread when someone unknowingly ingests the virus through food, drinks or other items contaminated with “small, undetected” amounts of fecal matter from an infected person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The virus can also spread from “close personal contact with an infected person such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill,” according to the CDC. In rare cases, it can be fatal.
Symptoms of the infection include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine and yellowing of the skin and eyes, the CDC says. People can reduce their chance of infection by thoroughly washing their hands after using the bathroom and before handling food.
Those with the highest risk of contracting Hepatitis A include the homeless, those who use injected or non-injected street drugs, men who have sex with other men and people who have direct contact with an infected person, the CDC says.