The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) warns consumers of possible hepatitis A exposure associated with produce that was possibly contaminated by a worker at a street-side fruit vendor who was infected with Hepatitis A. The fruit vendor was located on the corner of W Ave L and 20th Street West, in Lancaster, CA. Anyone who bought fruit from the vendor’s fruit cart (at this location) during the period of August 15 through August 22 may be at risk for hepatitis A.
The LA County Health Officer recommends that individuals who ate products from a fruit vendor at this location should receive an immune globulin (IG) shot or hepatitis A vaccination within the next week to prevent or reduce illness. Public Health will offer free vaccinations at the Antelope Valley Public Health Center from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. beginning, Tuesday, September 5, for anyone who may have been exposed.
Antelope Valley Public Health Center
335-B East Avenue K6
Lancaster, CA 93535
“We are actively investigating this situation. It is important that anyone who may have bought or consumed fruit from this vendor during the period of August 15 through August 22 should contact their doctor to discuss possible hepatitis A prevention and treatment options,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH, Interim Health Officer, Los Angeles County. “Those who purchased this product should discard any remaining fruit if still found in their home.”
This new case may be linked to the outbreaks of hepatitis A infections occurring in San Diego and Santa Cruz counties. The large majority of those cases have occurred in persons who are homeless and/or use illicit drugs (injection and non-injection), with several cases also occurring among people who provide services to the homeless. The worker with hepatitis A who worked at the fruit stand had previously spent time in San Diego, has received care, and is no longer infectious.
Public Health has confirmed 3 cases of hepatitis A among high-risk individuals who lived in San Diego during their exposure period as well as 3 secondary cases that have occurred in a health facility in Los Angeles County. Public Health has not identified any new cases associated with the fruit cart.
HAV causes acute liver disease, which may be severe. It is transmitted by contact with the feces of a person who is infected – often through contact with food or water or during sex or other close contact. Signs and symptoms of acute HAV include fever, malaise, dark urine, lack of appetite, nausea, and stomach pain, followed by jaundice. Symptoms generally last for less than 2 months although some persons may have prolonged or more severe illness. Infection can be prevented in close contacts of patients by vaccination within 2-weeks of exposure or administration of immune globulin. If you experience these symptoms, contact your physician.
Persons who have been vaccinated against hepatitis A or have received IG within the last three months or have ever had laboratory confirmed infection with the hepatitis A virus also do not need an injection of IG.
For more information on Public Health clinics, visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/chs/phcenters.htm , or call the LA County Information line at 2-1-1 from any landline or cell phone within the county.