The Hilton Head Island Packet reports that nearly 300 people might have been exposed to hepatitis A at Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks restaurant February 15th, but so far no cases stemming from the exposure have been confirmed.  An employee at Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks tested positive for hepatitis A on last Friday, six days after the employee had worked at the restaurant.

Anyone who was at the restaurant from 4 p.m. until closing time February 15th — when the infected employee was working — should contact his or her primary care provider to receive a single-dose vaccine no later than March 1.  The treatment must be administered within 14 days of possible exposure because people usually become sick within 15 to 50 days after being exposed. Symptoms include fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, and those infected may also experience joint pain and jaundice.  Most patients recover completely within two months, but symptoms can persist for up to six months in severe cases.  Acute liver failure is a risk.

If hepatitis A vaccines are not available at a primary care provider, customers should call DHEC at 800-868-0404 to schedule an appointment at a local health department.  DHEC clinics in Beaufort County will provide hepatitis A vaccines by appointment this week; vaccines cost $52.30 for people who have health insurance, $25 for those without insurance and $13 for children.

As of July 17, 2013, 149 people have been confirmed to have become ill from hepatitis A after eating ‘Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend’ in 8 states: Arizona (22), California (73), Colorado (27), Hawaii (8), New Mexico (8), Nevada (6), Utah (3), and Wisconsin (2). [Note: The cases reported from Wisconsin resulted from exposure to the product in California.]

83 (56%) ill people are women

Ages range from 1 – 84 years;

85 (57%) of those ill were between 40 – 64 years of age.

10 children age 18 or under were also ill. None were previously vaccinated.

Illness onset dates range from 3/31/2013 – 7/5/2013

65 (44%) ill people (all over 18 years of age) have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported