Alberta Health Services (AHS) has confirmed a case of hepatitis A in an individual who served food and drinks at the St. Mary School graduation banquet at the Taber Community Centre (4720 50 Street) on June 30.
Individuals who attended this banquet and consumed food or drink may have been exposed to hepatitis A.
“While we believe the risk to the public is low, hepatitis A is a serious infection,” says Dr. Lena Derie-Gillespie, Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health Services – South Zone. “As a precaution, anyone who consumed food or drink at this location is advised to monitor themselves and their family for symptoms until August 20, 2017.”
The banquet space in the Taber Community Centre will be inspected today by AHS Environmental Public Health inspectors to ensure there is no further risk to public.
Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by a virus. Spread through the fecal-oral route, individuals primarily contract hepatitis A through direct contact with an infected person; however, individuals can also contract the illness indirectly by ingestion of contaminated food or water. If an infected individual does not properly wash his/her hands after using the washroom, the virus can be transmitted through food and beverages prepared by the infected individual.
Illness can occur within 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus, but usually does within 28 to 30 days. Individuals can be infectious one to two weeks before symptoms occur until at least one week after the onset of illness.
Symptoms of hepatitis A may include: tiredness; poor appetite; nausea and vomiting; abdominal pain and fever; followed by dark-coloured urine, light-coloured stools, and yellowing of eyes and skin several days later. Some people, especially young children, may get hepatitis A infection without noticing any symptoms; however, they are still infectious to others.
Individuals who develop such symptoms between June 30, 2017 and August 20, 2017 are advised to immediately contact Health Link at 811.
Individuals who have had hepatitis A infection in the past or who have previously received an appropriate series of hepatitis A vaccine are not at risk of infection.
There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A, but it can be prevented through immunization.