Customers of Murray Edible Arrangements possibly exposed to hepatitis A

MURRAY, Utah - The Salt Lake County Health Department is warning residents about a possible hepatitis A exposure for anyone who ate items from the Edible Arrangements at 5211 S. State St. in Murray.

"We need to tell people that, yes, we had a [hepatitis A] positive person in this store and the foods are possibly contaminated, which means that you possibly were exposed to hepatitis A virus," said Dr. Dagmar Vitek, Salt Lake County Health Department.  "I would like to stress that we're only dealing with the store in Murray. There are several Edible Arrangements locations, so we're only looking at this one."

The exposure would have happened between March 21 and April 13, 2018.

Health officials estimate this store sold about 600 arrangements during this time.

This possible hepatitis A exposure occurred when an employee infected with hepatitis A worked while ill.

The health department said it believes this case is linked to the ongoing outbreak Utah has been experiencing since summer 2017.

To date, Salt Lake County has reported 153 hepatitis A cases related to that outbreak.

The health department does not currently have any hepatitis A cases linked to this possible exposure at Edible Arrangements.

Because the incubation period for hepatitis A is two to seven weeks, health officials will not know for several weeks if anyone was infected from this possible exposure.

Customers who consumed Edible Arrangements items from the Murray store can call 385-468-INFO (4636) for further instructions.

Health department staff will screen callers for their exposure risk and, if they are eligible, provide them with options for receiving an injection to prevent hepatitis A.

To be effective, the injection must be given within 14 days of the possible exposure, so people who ate items from this location between April 4 and April 13 are eligible to receive the injection.

It is too late for people who ate items from this location between March 21 and April 3 to receive the injection, so those individuals should watch for symptoms of hepatitis A and see their healthcare provider if they feel ill.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include low fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and yellow skin and eyes.

Customers who are fully vaccinated (two doses) against hepatitis A are protected and do not need to contact the health department or receive vaccine.

In July 2002, Utah began requiring hepatitis A vaccination for children entering kindergarten, so many people who began kindergarten during or after the 2002–2003 school year are likely vaccinated against hepatitis A; check your personal immunization record to be sure.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, which permits and regulates this Edible Arrangements location, closed the store Tuesday afternoon and will supervise its sanitation before reopening.

Under Salt Lake County’s food service regulation, SLCoHD will also require all store employees to be vaccinated against hepatitis A before they return to work.

“Food service establishments should consider vaccinating their employees against hepatitis A,” said Dr. Dagmar Vitek, SLCoHD medical director. “It’s also important that food handlers be conscientious with hygiene, hand washing and not working when ill—and that managers be vigilant in enforcing those important requirements that help protect public health.”

Hepatitis A vaccine is covered by many insurance plans and is available at local pharmacies, health care providers and SLCoHD immunization clinics.

People not affected by this possible exposure but who would like to receive the vaccine may call 385-468-SHOT (7468) to make an appointment at a health department immunization clinic.