Hepatitis A immunizations will be offered to employees of the Nanaimo Superstore located at 6435 Metral Drive, and to eligible members of the public who consumed raw produce or unwrapped food that was not further cooked and was purchased from that store on specific dates in the past two weeks.

This follows confirmation that a cashier has tested positive for hepatitis A.

Island Health Public Health recommends people who consumed raw produce or unwrapped food that is not further cooked, purchased from the Nanaimo Superstore location during the following dates and times, should receive hepatitis A vaccine as a precaution:
· Feb 25: late afternoon and evening
· Feb 26: afternoon and evening
· Feb 27: late afternoon and evening
· Mar 1: all day
· Mar 4: evening

Patrons who used the self-checkout are not considered to be at risk.

This alert DOES NOT apply to food products from any other Superstore outlets.
A drop-in immunization clinic for the Nanaimo Superstore employees and eligible members of the public will take place on:

Saturday, March 7, 2015
10am to 3pm
Beban Park Social Centre
2300 Bowen Rd., Nanaimo

Additional immunization clinics will be held in the next few days at dates and times still to be determined. Go to www.viha.ca/mho/disease/hepA.htm for the latest information.
Individuals who live outside the Nanaimo area and who are eligible for the vaccine should attend one of the Nanaimo clinics, or contact their local Public Health Unit to arrange immunization at their local health unit

When given within 14 days of exposure, Hepatitis A vaccine can prevent infection from the virus. People who have had hepatitis A in the past, or previously received two doses of the vaccine, are protected and will not benefit from further vaccination. For food-related exposures like this, one dose of vaccine is recommended to prevent disease.

“We don’t see many cases of Hepatitis A on the Island and even fewer where the person works in a job with the potential to expose large numbers of people like this,” said Dr. Paul Hasselback, Island Health Medical Health Officer for Central Vancouver Island. “Both the individual and the Superstore facility have been cooperating fully to make sure the public is protected and we are grateful for their support.”

There is a small risk that individuals who consumed raw produce or other foods that were not wrapped when purchased at the Nanaimo Superstore location on the late afternoon or evening of February 5, 8, 12, 15 or 18, 2015, may have been exposed to hepatitis A. Vaccination is not provided for individuals who only purchased food on these days, as the time period for effective prevention has passed. All individuals who consumed unpackaged food from the Nanaimo Superstore during these days should be aware of the symptoms of hepatitis A, which include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. These symptoms are followed a few days later by dark-coloured urine, light-coloured stools and jaundice (yellow eyes/skin).

Anyone who develops these symptoms should stay home from school, work, daycare or other activities and avoid preparing food for others. They should also contact their doctor or HealthLink BC by dialing 811. Symptoms usually occur 15-50 days after exposure.

Individuals who still have produce that is eaten raw or foods that were not wrapped when purchased at the Nanaimo Superstore location at the above times should not consume these items and should dispose of them immediately. Please do not return items to Superstore.

The public can be assured that it is safe to purchase and consume food from the Nanaimo Superstore location, as well as other Superstore locations.

Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver. The virus can be found in the bowel movements (stool) of infected people. It can spread through close personal contact, or contaminated food that has been handled by an infected person. Infants under six months and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk of complications associated with Hepatitis A.

Food supplies where the skin/surface is also consumed, like fruits and vegetables, should be thoroughly washed to prevent diseases. Frequent, thorough hand washing with warm water and soap for 20 seconds is another key to stopping the spread of hepatitis.