Hepatitis A warning issued to attendees of graduation banquet in Alberta town
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, July 14, 2017 8:42PM EDT
TABER, Alta. -- Alberta Health Services is warning that people who attended a graduation banquet at the community centre in Taber, Alta., may have been exposed to hepatitis A.
AHS says a person serving food and drinks at the St. Mary Catholic school banquet on June 30 turns out to have had the disease.
Dr. Lena Derie-Gillespie, medical officer of health, says while the risk to the public is low, hepatitis A is a serious infection.
As a precaution, anyone who consumed food or drink at the event is advised to monitor themselves and their family for symptoms until Aug. 20.
If symptoms occur, people are being told to contact Health Link at 811.
The banquet space in the community centre was inspected Friday by AHS Environmental Public Health inspectors to ensure there is no further risk to public, and was given a clean bill of health.
Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by a virus. Spread through the fecal-oral route, individuals primarily contract hepatitis A through direct contact with an infected person; however, individuals can also contract the illness indirectly by ingestion of contaminated food or water.
If an infected individual does not properly wash his hands after using the washroom, the virus can be transmitted through food and beverages prepared by the infected individual.
Illness can occur within 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus, but usually does within 28 to 30 days. Individuals can be infectious one to two weeks before symptoms occur until at least one week after the onset of illness.
Symptoms of hepatitis A may include: tiredness; poor appetite; nausea and vomiting; abdominal pain and fever; followed by dark-coloured urine, light-coloured stools, and yellowing of eyes and skin several days later.
Some people, especially young children, may get hepatitis A infection without noticing any symptoms; however, they are still infectious to others.