Health department confirms food service worker with Hepatitis A
MISSOULA, Mont. - The Missoula City-County Health Department is warning anyone who has eaten at Missoula's Good Food Store salad bar recently to watch for symptoms of Hepatitis A.
This after they confirmed a food service worker tested positive for the virus.
"I eat here probably twice a week and I always get salad bar because I love salad," said Toriana Zander, a customer. "I didn't find out until I got some texts from friends after I put on Snapchat that I was eating at the Good Food Store."
Zander was surprised the store didn't post any signage.
Layne Rolston, the communications director for the Good Food Store, said they didn't post signs because "there's not a perceived risk at this point," and "that employee has not been working in the store for a number of days now."
The Good Food Store tells NBC Montana they learned their employee was diagnosed with the virus Tuesday. "The tricky part is you can have Hepatitis A and be contagious for two weeks before you ever have any symptoms," explained Cindy Farr, director of the Health Promotion division with the Missoula City-County Health Department.
The health department recommends if you ate food from the self-serve salad bar at the Good Food Store between August 15th and September 13th to be alert for symptoms of the disease.
Symptoms can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, abdominal cramping and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
If you start to have any of these symptoms you should contact your health care provider.
If you ate food from the salad bar 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.
Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a virus that is spread by contaminated food and water, which is why proper food handling, hand washing, and food handler hygiene is important in preventing its spread.
Right now, the health department is still investigating where the worker may have contracted the virus and determining if it came from a local source or may be part of a national outbreak.
We'll continue to check with the health department to see if any new cases have been identified.
Click here for the facts on Hepatitis A.