(CNN) — A Starbucks employee in New Jersey who handled food and then tested positive for hepatitis A may have exposed thousands of customers to the virus.
Exposure to hepatitis A affects anyone who visited Starbucks at 1490 Blackwood Clementon Road on Nov. 4th, 5th, 6th, 11th, 12th and 13th, according to district spokesman Dan Keashen.
On Wednesday, the Camden County Health Department was notified of the incident and the Starbucks location in Gloucester Township was immediately closed, Keashen told CNN.
People who visit Starbucks and are not vaccinated against hepatitis A are advised to get the vaccine “as soon as possible, but no later than 14 days after contact,” the health department said in a press release on Friday.
Hepatitis-A-Impfstoffe in New Jersey
“The county health department has been working closely with the patient and Starbucks staff to address the situation,” said Paschal Nwako, Camden County’s health officer, in one publication Press.
“Our number one priority is to make sure everyone involved stays safe and healthy. The patient is currently not working and close contacts have been identified in the practice or your general practitioner. “
Public health workers provided Starbucks employees with 17 hepatitis A vaccines on Thursday and set up a pop-up vaccination clinic nearby on Friday and Saturday, Keashen said.
800 vaccines have been administered to date, making it the largest hepatitis A vaccination in the state’s history, according to Keashen.
“Starbucks says the place is always full, like most,” said Keashen. “They say they have an average of 600 customers a day and some are customers who might come back several times a day … but the notoriety is likely in the thousands.”
Starbucks visitors should get vaccinated
The Starbucks employee who caught the virus is on the mend. So far, no one has tested positive for hepatitis A as a result of exposure, the spokesman said.
“I found out that my daughter and I may have been exposed to hepatitis A. I got the vaccination today and I feel good, ”Keashen told CNN subsidiary WABC.
“If you’ve come into contact with self-service material or entered the building yourself, you should be vaccinated.”
Due to the limited number of vaccines in the state, collecting the correct number of doses was not an easy task.
“Our public health department workers drove across the state, in some cases hundreds of miles, to collect vaccines across the state,” said Keashen. “There aren’t many doses of hepatitis A vaccines in New Jersey.”
The county has successfully secured 500 doses for another pop-up clinic scheduled for Wednesday as demand for the vaccine continues to grow.
What is hepatitis A and what are the symptoms?
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that can be transmitted through close contact with an infected person or by consuming contaminated food or drink, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ).
Symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and jaundice, and generally appear two to six weeks after infection and last less than two months, according to the CDC.
Hepatitis A rates in the United States have decreased by more than 95% since the vaccine was first available in 1995 CDC. The neighbor Philadelphia A public health emergency was declared due to a rise in hepatitis A in 2019, and most cases occurred among risk groups in Kensington.