Customers who ate at Sea Salt Lobster Restaurant in Saco could be at risk for hepatitis A infection after a restaurant worker tested positive.
A restaurant worker was found to have acute hepatitis A, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Customers who ate food from the restaurant on May 22 or May 23 are encouraged to receive the hepatitis A vaccine to protect themselves from getting the disease. Those who ate food from May 12 to May 21 are outside of the 14-day window where a vaccine would be effective, but are encouraged to look out for symptoms and stay in touch with their health care provider.
“The individual handled food at Sea Salt Lobster Restaurant while infectious from May 12, 2020, through May 23, 2020. An assessment of the employee’s illness determined that restaurant patrons may be at risk for hepatitis A infection,” according to a news release. “This includes anyone who may have had take-out, delivery or curbside pickup of food from the restaurant.”
Maine restaurants in southern Maine were closed to in-person dining in May due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but customers could still get take-out, delivery or curbside pickup. Restaurants have now re-opened for in-person dining, but restaurants in Cumberland, York and Androscoggin counties can only have outside dining because of the higher rates of COVID-19 infection in those counties.
Vaccines are the best way to prevent hepatitis A.
“Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms range from mild illness to a severe sickness that requires hospitalization and can last several months. Most adults with hepatitis A have a sudden onset of symptoms such as tiredness, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Most children younger than 6 years old do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection,” according to the Maine CDC news release.
Hepatitis A can be spread through contaminated food or water. Symptoms typically begin 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus.
This story may be updated.