A new report has revealed that a staff member of Starbucks in New Jersey who has been working at the restaurant even after being infected with hepatitis A might have exposed many customers to the fatal virus. The report has found that the Starbucks worker has been handling food at the restaurant while being infected with hepatitis A. The county spokesperson, Dan Keashen has said that customers who have visited the restaurant on November 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, and 13 might have been exposed to the virus. Dan Keashen has said that the Camden County Health Department has been alerted about the unfortunate incident. Health officials of the county have shot down all operations at the Gloucester Township Starbucks site. The Camden County Health Department has advised that people who frequently visit this Starbucks outlet and are not immunized against hepatitis A should take the shots as soon as possible. Health experts have said that people who are not vaccinated should take the hepatitis A shots within 14 days of virus exposure. The Camden County Health Officer, Paschal Nwako has said that the health officials are working constantly with the patients and staff members of the restaurant to address the issue in a better way. Paschal Nwako has assured that ensuring the safety and wellbeing of everyone who has been exposed to the virus is the top priority of health officials. The staff member who has been diagnosed with hepatitis A has stopped working for the time being and other close contacts of the first patient have been spotted. Paschal Nwako has said that people who feel that they have contracted the virus or have been exposed to the pathogen should call the Camden County Health Department or their health care providers for vaccination at the earliest possible.
Public health officials have made nearly 17 hepatitis A shots available to the employees of Starbucks. They have also installed a pop-up vaccination clinic at the nearest location. Dan Keashen has informed that nearly 800 hepatitis A shots have been given to people via the pop-up clinic. Health experts have said that it has marked the biggest hepatitis A vaccine drive in the history of the state. The officials of the restaurant have said that the outlet is mostly busy and flooded with customers just like other outlets. They have said that the Starbucks site usually witnesses nearly 600 customers on average every day. Some customers visit the restaurant multiple times a day. However, they think that the virus exposure might be in thousands. As per the report, the worker who has been infected with the deadly disease is now in the recovery phase. Health officials have claimed that no one else has been diagnosed with hepatitis A so far as an outcome of the virus exposure. Dan Keashen and his daughter as well have been exposed to the virus; however, both of them have been vaccinated against hepatitis A recently. Health experts have said that if people get exposed to the virus via material that has come out of the drive-thru or they have entered the building itself, they should take the vaccine for hepatitis A without any delay. Health authorities of the state have said that the state has had a limited amount of hepatitis A vaccine; therefore, it has not been an easy job to gather enough amount of vaccine. Dan Keashen has told that public healthcare workers have running around the state for hundreds of miles to pick up the doses of hepatitis vaccine. As per the latest report, there are not enough doses of the hepatitis A vaccine in New Jersey.
Public health authorities from the County Health Department have said that at present, nearly 500 doses of the vaccine have been secured to set up another pop-up vaccine clinic in the county as demand for the vaccine is rising constantly. Health experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that hepatitis A is a contagious disease that affects the liver. It is a highly infectious illness. They have said that the virus can transmit via close contact with a person who has been diagnosed or infected with hepatitis A or via consuming contaminated food or drink. As per the health experts, the deadly disease can cause symptoms such as fever, nausea, fatigue, discomfort in the abdomen, vomiting, and jaundice. Health officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have warned that these symptoms can take two to three weeks to show up after a person is infected with the disease. They have said that the symptoms of the disease usually fade away in less than two months. The hepatitis A vaccine has been made available in the United States in 1995 for the first time. Since then, the rate of hepatitis A infection has dropped by more than 95 percent in the country. Health officials from Philadelphia have announced a public health emergency in 2019 due to a sudden surge in the cases of hepatitis A. During this time, the majority of hepatitis A cases have been seen occurring among people who are highly vulnerable to the disease in Kensington. Amid the horrifying incident linked to hepatitis A, health officials have warned about the more lethal flu season as well that might hit the United States soon. They have urged people to get flu shots as soon as possible. Recently an influenza outbreak has taken place at Miami University. Around 174 people have been diagnosed with influenza in this outbreak. Health officials speculate that in this flu season, the H3N2 strain seems to be more prevalent. The strain has been dominant in the 2017-18 flu season that has claimed around 80000 lives and has led to nearly 960000 hospital admissions. In the early months of 2021, the University of Cincinnati has made the flu vaccine mandatory for all full-time students.