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Hepatitis A outbreak in Yakima County

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YAKIMA -- The Yakima Health District says Yakima County is in the middle of an outbreak of Hepatitis A.

Over the past two weeks the Yakima Health District has been notified of five patients who have tested positive for Acute Hepatitis A in Yakima County.

Through the Yakima Health District’s investigation, it has been found that all cases reside within the homeless and/or the illicit drug user population.

The health district says there was a potential exposure from October 23rd to October 31st at Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen on Nob Hill Blvd. in Yakima.

Popeye’s was notified of this exposure on November 6, 2019. Upon notification, Popeye’s disinfected the restaurant and will be working with the Yakima Health District to ensure there is no continued risk of exposure at the restaurant.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is usually transmitted person-to-person when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from touching objects or consuming food contaminated with stool from an infected person.

Hepatitis A can also be spread from close, personal contact with an infected person.

After someone has been exposed to hepatitis A, symptoms may begin to develop two to six weeks after infection.

All customers who were at Popeye’s from October 23rd to October 31st should be sure that they have been vaccinated against hepatitis A or obtain the hepatitis A vaccine as soon as possible.

If you are not vaccinated and begin to develop symptoms such as yellow skin or eyes (jaundice), dark urine and/or pale stools, loss of appetite, fever, diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting, joint pain, and abdominal pain, contact your primary care provider immediately.

The Yakima Health District’s Health Officer, Dr. Chris Spitters, wants to remind people that, “The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated and to have good handwashing practices. As of 1996, children have been routinely vaccinated between their first and second birthdays.”

The Yakima Health District says it has been reaching out directly to the homeless and drug using community to proactively vaccinate against hepatitis A.

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Tieton Village Drug in Yakima tells action news it has the Hepatitis A Vaccine in stock for any who may need it.

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