New Public Health Alert As NJ Hepatitis A Outbreak Grows; 6 Dead – Hillsborough, NJ Patch

NEW JERSEY – Health officials have issued a new public health alert about an outbreak of hepatitis A that’s soared since last year, infecting 533 people in New Jersey and hitting many counties hard. It continues to pop up in some unexpected places – including a supermarket, a Dunkin’ Donuts, a golf club and a food store.

The new public health alert involved a deli worker at a ShopRite who was infected with hepatitis A and worked during a time when he was contagious, health officials warned this week.

The New Jersey Department of Health, along with the Somerset County Department of Health and Wakefern Corporation, warned shoppers of the confirmed case of hepatitis A at ShopRite at 1 S. Davenport St. in Somerville. Read more: Somerset County ShopRite Worker Was Infected With Hepatitis A

Since the outbreak began last year, six people have died, 332 people have been hospitalized and 533 cases have been reported, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. The number of cases has increased by 6 percent since Oct. 15.

The disease has been identified in 21 New Jersey counties (see list, locations and numbers of cases below).

The 533 cases have been detected since the outbreak began in December – a sharp, 800 percent increase over last year, when 66 people were infected during the same time period, Dec. 1 through Oct. 26.

The New Jersey Department of Health says the hepatitis A cases have been observed in those without “risk factors:” homelessness, drug use, incarceration and “men who have sex with men.”

The DOH warned people last month about a confirmed case of hepatitis A in North Jersey. The case involves a food handler employed at a food store who worked while he or she was potentially infectious between Sept. 30 and Oct. 5, according to a NJDOH release. Read more: Hepatitis A Case At North Jersey Food Store: Officials

In June, a worker at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Turnersville was diagnosed with hepatitis A, the Gloucester County Health Department announced. Read more: Case Of Hepatitis A At South Jersey Dunkin’ Donuts: Officials

Twenty-three people were infected with hepatitis A after a Mendham golf club employee came to work sick, New Jersey Department of Health Officials said. Read more: 23 Sickened In Hepatitis A Outbreak At Mendham Twp. Golf Club

Two men who say they were sickened during the hepatitis A outbreak at the golf club are suing the resort for a combined $9 million. Read more: $9M Lawsuit Filed Against Mendham Golf Club After Hep A Outbreak

Campers at a North Jersey summer camp also might have been exposed to hepatitis A, the Sussex County Department of Health warned. Read more: Campers At North Jersey Camp Exposed To Hepatitis A

Also, earlier this year, a worker at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Ocean City was diagnosed with hepatitis A, the Cape May County Health Department and New Jersey Department of Health announced. Read more: Hepatitis A Notice Involving Ocean City Dunkin’ Donuts: Officials

And a letter was recently sent home to parents of more than 1,300 students at Nottingham High School-North in Hamilton Township in Mercer County informing them of the potential exposure of hepatitis A, according to NJ101.5.

Here is where the disease has been diagnosed, along with the number of cases:

  • Atlantic 17
  • Bergen 22
  • Burlington 36
  • Camden 139
  • Cape May 4
  • Cumberland 19
  • Essex 12
  • Gloucester 62
  • Hudson 8
  • Hunterdon 2
  • Mercer 49
  • Middlesex 5
  • Monmouth 8
  • Morris 29
  • Ocean 14
  • Passaic 42
  • Salem 23
  • Somerset 4
  • Sussex 4
  • Union 3
  • Warren 2
  • Atlantic 16
  • Bergen 21
  • Burlington 35
  • Camden 128
  • Cape May 4
  • Cumberland 18
  • Essex 12
  • Gloucester 61
  • Hudson 7
  • Hunterdon 2
  • Mercer 44
  • Middlesex 5
  • Monmouth 8
  • Morris 27
  • Ocean 14
  • Passaic 38
  • Salem 22
  • Somerset 2
  • Sussex 3
  • Union 3
  • Warren 2

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also been investigating the outbreak that has hit 30 states and killed 275 people.

In New Jersey, the state Department of Health has supplied hundreds of vaccines to several health departments to immunize uninsured or underinsured individuals at risk of the liver disease, according to a department release.

The virus is typically transmitted from person-to-person when it is ingested from objects, food or drinks contaminated by a stool from an infected person, according to the release.

This can happen when infected people do not wash their hands properly after using the bathroom and then touch food or items that are shared with others.

Hepatitis A can also spread from close personal contact with an infected person, such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill, according to the release.

Most adults with hepatitis A have symptoms, including fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea and jaundice, that usually resolve within 2 months of infection; most children less than 6 years of age do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection, according to the CDC.

For more information about hepatitis A, visit https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/hepatitisa.shtml or https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm

Vaccinations being offered at the several locations are only for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured. Individuals with insurance should go to their primary care physician.

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