Last week the Camden County New Jersey Health Department reported that it had been notified by a health care provider that a food handler employed at a Starbucks at 1490 Blackwood Clementon Road in Gloucester Township tested positive for hepatitis A and worked through the infectious period. On Wednesday, Nov. 17, the Department of Health was notified that a patient tested positive for hepatitis A and an investigation was instantly commissioned. Based on the investigation and out of an abundance of caution, the Department of Health recommends any member of the public that patronized the Starbucks facility on Nov. 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13 to get the hepatitis A vaccine.

Based on this exposure, the Department of Health will set up a hepatitis A vaccine clinic to administer shots for patrons starting last Saturday at the Camden County Sustainable Facility at 508 Lakeland Road. Tomorrow’s clinic will operate from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Vaccine appointments will be made on a first come first serve basis.

It was reported today that as many as 4,000 customers may have been exposed.

How soon we forget.

In July 2019, a hepatitis A (HAV) outbreak was discovered in New Jersey linked to Mendham Golf and Tennis Club at 2 Golf Lane in Mendham Township, New Jersey. On July 2, the Morris County Office of Health Management and the New Jersey Department of Health were informed of a positive HAV case who was a food handler at the Mendham Golf and Tennis Club, and an investigation was launched. That day, the club was inspected and documents from Club management were collected. On July 3, it was decided that club members should be notified of potential transmission and asked to seek medical attention if any symptoms were noted.

Cases were notified of their possible exposure on July 5. A total of 26 cases, secondary to the index case, were identified. Symptom onset dates ranged from July 11 to August 7, 2019. Eleven cases were hospitalized – one with a liver transplant, and one case died. Cases were located from three counties and two neighboring states. Cases ranged from 23 to 85 years old (median 54). The majority were male (73%). Eight cases reported dining at the facility multiple times. Only two cases were reported to have received the recommended post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). No subtype testing was done to analyze the genetic relationship between case infections, so outbreak analyses were primarily based on epidemiological evidence.

The New Jersey Department of Health ultimately ascribed this outbreak to an infected, seasonal food handler at Mendham Golf & Tennis Club. This case’s symptoms started on June 24, 2019, and he was excluded from work on June 30. It was calculated that exposures to this case may have occurred between June 9 and June 30, which would mean that the last date by which affected individuals could receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) would be on July 14, 2019. Unvaccinated cases who dined between June 9 and June 30 were asked to receive PEP by July 14. Patrons who visited the club when the infectious food handler worked were asked to inform any dining companions of the possible exposure to HAV to receive PEP as well. On August 30, 2019, the outbreak was considered over by the New Jersey Department of Health.