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Public Health warns of potential exposure to hepatitis A in Amherst

Public Health is investigating a confirmed case of hepatitis A in the Northern Zone. Though risk to the public is low, there may be members of the public who were exposed to the virus.

Public Health is asking anyone who ate and/or drank food at the Tim Hortons location at 118 South Albion St. in Amherst, between May 30 and June 14, and who have experienced the symptoms below since June 15, or develop them over the next four weeks, to see a primary care provider.

Symptoms are generally mild and could include a sudden onset of fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and, within a few days to a week, darkening of the urine and yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice).

Public Health has been in touch with people at higher risk of getting the infection and will be offering them a vaccine that will help protect them from getting ill. Management at the location has been extremely cooperative and supportive, helping us reach contacts and distribute information.

The illness usually lasts one to two weeks; however, some cases can last several months. Most individuals recover without treatment. However, in some cases, it may cause serious liver damage. Unlike hepatitis B and C, hepatitis A is not transmitted through blood and does not produce long-term (chronic) infections. When someone is infected with hepatitis A they may have no symptoms.

The most effective ways to prevent contracting hepatitis A is to practise good hand washing, especially after using the bathroom, and before preparing food or eating, as well as through vaccination.

More information is available at Individuals with questions about signs and symptoms of hepatitis A can also call 811.


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