Hepatitis A outbreak continues

LIHUE — A third Kauai resident has been infected with hepatitis A, but the source of the infection is unclear, according to Hawaii Department of Health.

“This person also has other extensive potential exposures outside of the state, so we are unable to distinguish whether this person was infected as part of the ongoing outbreak or from another separate exposure,” said Judy Kern, with the public health preparedness branch of DOH.

She said DOH doesn’t monitor the ongoing health condition of cases because “that’s the responsibility of their healthcare providers.”

“However, we understand that all three (Kauai outbreak cases) have since recovered,” Kern said.

The Hawaii outbreak has been linked to contaminated wild gathered, raw, frozen scallops imported from the Philippines, distributed by Koha Oriental Foods on Kauai and Oahu.

They were served at Genki Sushi chain restaurants and all of the restaurants on Kauai and Oahu were closed Aug. 15.

In an Aug. 16 press conference, Peter Oshiro, DOH sanitation branch chief, said DOH is requiring Genki Sushi to disinfect all hard surfaces, dispose of all of their scallop supply, and make sure their employee hygiene habits meet DOH standards.

Kern said none of the locations have re-opened.

As of Aug. 17, there have been 206 confirmed cases of hepatitis A in Hawaii. Kern said DOH will be updating its website and information on case counts today.

“DOH is continuing to receive and review reports of potential cases,” he said. “We anticipate needing to monitor and follow up with any new cases that are identified for at least the next month.”


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