The Missoula City-County Health Department is following the mantra of share what you know, what you don’t know and be available for questions following a possible hepatitis A exposure in Missoula, Montana.
According to KPAX, A food handler at a local retailer, the Good Food Store, was confirmed to be ill with the virus and may have exposed thousands of shoppers over the past month.
Missoula City-County Health Department officer Ellen Leahy says while the food service employee was excluded from work during most of the time that they had symptoms, there is a potential for customer exposure because Hepatitis A can be spread before a person has symptoms – before they know they are infectious or ill.
To address this possibility, the health department is issuing this public notice in conjunction with the Good Food Store, where the employee’s job included preparing foods for the self-serve salad bar. Ready-to-eat-foods such as those found on a salad bar won’t be cooked or washed by the consumer prior to eating and can be a vehicle for contamination.
Leahy says the Good Food Store followed proper sick employee exclusion rules and has excellent policies, practices, and facilities for food handling and hand washing.
The Missoula City-County Health Department recommends the following courses of action:
• If you ate food from the self-serve salad bar at the Good Food Store between August 15 and September 13, please be alert for symptoms of Hepatitis A.
• If you ate food from the self-serve salad bar at the Good Food Store within the past two weeks and have not been previously immunized for Hepatitis A, an immunization given within two weeks of exposure may protect you from getting the disease. Please come to the health department or contact your health care provider as soon as possible to discuss immunization options.
• If you did not eat food from the self-serve salad bar at the Good Food Store, no action is recommended at this time.
Contact the Missoula City-County Health Department at (406) 258-3500 if you have questions or concerns about Hepatitis A.