Possible hepatitis A exposure reported at Sunlife Organics in West Hollywood

Public health officials are alerting Sunlife Organics juice bar customers in West Hollywood of a possible hepatitis A exposure.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health identified hepatitis A virus infection in a food handler who worked at the location, officials said in a news release Friday.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus, the department explained. It causes acute liver disease, which may be severe.

So far, no additional cases tied to the juice bar have been identified.

Still, the public health department recommends hepatitis A vaccination for patrons who got food or drinks from Sunlife Organics in West Hollywood between March 14–17.

Vaccination is not necessary for people who previously completed the hepatitis A vaccine series or were infected in the past. To prevent infection or reduce illness, hepatitis A vaccine should be administered within 14 days after a known exposure.

Hepatitis A vaccinations might be available through local pharmacies or physicians’ offices. In addition, the department will be offering free hepatitis A vaccinations to exposed people at Hollywood Wilshire Health Center on 5205 Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles at the following times:

  • March 27 from 10 am – 1 pm
  • March 28 from 10 am – 1 pm
  • March 29 from 8 am – 4 p.m.

Most people will have protective levels of antibody after one dose of the Hepatitis A vaccine but can choose to visit their primary care provider to complete the series with a second dose 6 months after receiving their first dose.

Hepatitis A is highly contagious and can be spread from person-to-person through the fecal-oral route (when contaminated feces from an infected person are somehow ingested by another person during close personal contact) or by eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Most adults with acute hepatitis A will have symptoms that may include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark colored urine and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

There is no specific antiviral treatment.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent disease, the public health department said. In addition, infection can be prevented by vaccination within 14 days after a known exposure to a person with infectious hepatitis A. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems might benefit from receiving immune globulin (IG) in addition to hepatitis A vaccination for prevention after an exposure.

For any questions about hepatitis A or the need for immune globulin, Public Health recommends that you speak to your primary care provider. If you do not have a regular provider, call 211 for assistance.

The department said it will continue monitoring all known individuals who may have been exposed to individuals ill with hepatitis A.

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