Maine CDC: Six Confirmed Hepatitis A Cases in Aroostook County
A diagnosis for Hepatitis A was confirmed for a person connected with the Fort Kent Elementary School on Saturday, according to The County. Benjamin Sirois, Superintendent for SAD 27, said the risk is low to the students and the faculty, but to be cognizant of the symptoms.
The Maine Centers for Disease Control announced on Friday that patrons who ate at the Mai Tai Restaurant in Presque Isle on May 26 or June 2 may have been exposed and at risk for contracting Hepatitis A.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) has identified three additional cases of hepatitis A virus infection in Aroostook County over the past week. There are now six confirmed hepatitis A cases in Aroostook County since May 17, 2019. All six cases are linked to exposures at a restaurant in Caribou. There is no ongoing risk of hepatitis A to the public from eating at this restaurant.
Maine CDC Public Health Nurses assisted local medical facilities to administer hepatitis A vaccine over the past three days, and the Maine CDC Immunization Program provided hepatitis A vaccine to Aroostook County health care facilities. Close contacts of affected individuals have been notified. However, symptoms of hepatitis A can take weeks to develop. Health care providers are encouraged to remain vigilant for hepatitis A infection.
The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated. Other preventive measures include practicing good hand hygiene - thoroughly washing hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food. We also recommend that all food service workers get vaccinated for hepatitis A.
This disease usually spreads when a person ingests the virus from contaminated objects, food, or drinks. It can also spread from close contact with an infected person such as caring for someone who is ill.
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, contagious liver disease caused by a virus. Symptoms range from mild illness to a severe sickness that requires hospitalization and can last several months. Most adults with hepatitis A have a sudden onset of symptoms such as tiredness, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Most children younger than six years of age do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection. If you develop symptoms of hepatitis A, please contact your healthcare provider.