In light of the case of hepatitis A in an employee at a local Starbucks, the Camden County Health Department will be administering vaccines to anyone who feels they may have been exposed at the Camden County Health Hub located at 200 College Drive in Blackwood.
Wednesday’s clinic will operate from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vaccine appointments will be made on a first come first serve basis.
Vaccine clinics held last Friday and Saturday gave doses to more than 800 people in Camden County.
If you have been vaccinated for hepatitis A in the past, you do not need to receive another dose. If you have a child that was born after the year 2000, that child has likely already been vaccinated for hepatitis A and does not require another dose. However, parents should check with their pediatrician to confirm their child’s vaccine status.
Based on the investigation and out of an abundance of caution, the Department of Health recommends any unvaccinated member of the public that patronized the Starbucks facility on Nov. 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13 to get the hepatitis A vaccine. Individuals should receive the vaccine as soon as possible but no later than 14 days after contact.
Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts, from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces or stool of an infected person. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis A can include the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal discomfort
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored bowel movement
- Joint pain
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
Symptoms of the disease surface two to four weeks after exposure, although they can in some instances occur two to seven weeks after exposure. Children under six years of age with hepatitis A often do not have or show few signs and symptoms.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.
On Wednesday, Nov. 17, The Camden County Health Department was 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.
An investigation was instantly commissioned, and members of the Food Surveillance Unit visited the store on Wednesday to conduct an inspection, which showed no evidence of food safety violations. Based on the ongoing investigation the store was closed for operation and was not reopened until all the employees were vaccinated.
For more information on hepatitis A and vaccine availability, patrons of Starbucks can contact the Camden County Health Department at (856) 549-0530 or their primary care physician.