The Detroit Health Department is investigating two cases of Hepatitis A in connection to the prepared foods section at Whole Foods Market in Detroit located at 115 Mack Avenue.
One case was diagnosed in an employee who handles prepared food at the store. The second case was a Detroit resident who ate at the prepared foods section of the store. It is still unclear how either case was contracted. However, given the theoretical risk that the second case may have contracted the disease from the food handler, the Detroit Health Department is recommending that anyone who may have consumed prepared foods at Whole Foods Detroit between October 6th and October 12th speak to a physician and seek preventive treatment. The recommended preventive treatment is a vaccine that is given once and helps to prevent people who have been exposed to Hepatitis A from developing the disease.
Those who consumed prepared food at the Whole Foods Market in Detroit between October 6th and 12th should consult their primary care provider. In addition, the Detroit Health Department will be offering evaluation and possible preventive treatment at both of its clinics, located at The Samaritan Center (5555 Conner Street) and The Family Place (8726 Woodward Avenue). Clinics will be open between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday, from Thursday, October 20th through Wednesday, October 26th.
“While it remains unclear exactly how either of these individuals contracted Hepatitis A, and we know that Whole Foods Market Detroit has a comprehensive food safety protocol, we want to do our best to protect our residents and those of surrounding communities who may have been exposed. Whole Foods has been nothing but cooperative throughout this process.” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, Executive Director and Health Officer at the Detroit Health Department.
The Detroit Health Department has evaluated and provided preventive treatment to the staff at Whole Foods, and continues to monitor for any additional cases. The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) has jurisdiction over licensing and food safety in grocery stores. The Detroit Health Department is working closely with MDARD on the investigation.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It is usually spread when a person ingests contaminated food or drink. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal, yellow eyes and skin, as well as dark urine. Many people who have Hepatitis A may not have symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately. In over 99% of cases the body clears the disease without any long term consequences.