Second case of hepatitis A confirmed in deli worker: vaccine offered to more people

In the wake of a second reported case of hepatitis A in a food handler, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is extending its community notice to customers of the Real Canadian Superstore, Sudbury. Anyone who consumed clerk-served deli meat or cheese, or meat and cheese from prepared deli trays purchased from the store between November 27, 2019, and January 2, 2020, could be at risk of hepatitis A infection. This notice extends to January 2 the original notice which was to December 16. The second hepatitis A case was reported to Public Health on January 1, 2020.

This second case of hepatitis A involves an employee who, along with the first case, worked at the deli department at the Real Canadian Superstore. Public Health reported on the first case on December 16, 2019. Based on information to date, both cases handled only deli food and did not handle food elsewhere in the store.

“With the report of this new case, the time period for potential exposure to hepatitis A through eating the clerk-served deli meat or cheese, or meat and cheese from prepared deli trays has been extended,” said Dr. Ariella Zbar, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “Anyone who ate the affected food purchased from November 27 to January 2 should monitor their health, and if they ate the food in the last 14 days, they should get vaccinated. People who already received their vaccination do not need to be revaccinated. They are protected,” said Dr. Zbar.

“This is unfortunate but perhaps not unexpected,” said Stacey Laforest, Director, Health Protection Division, Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “Public Health is working closely with store operators and workers, and any food that may have been at risk has been removed from sale. This development is an important reminder for those who are eligible to come in for immunization against hepatitis A and for all who have eaten these foods to monitor their health for symptoms,” said Laforest.

Who is at risk and who qualifies for free vaccination?

  • Anyone who consumed clerk-served deli meat or cheese, or meat and cheese from prepared deli trays from the Real Canadian Superstore located at 1485 Lasalle Boulevard in Sudbury, Ontario, that was purchased between November 27, 2019, and January 2, 2020, is at risk for hepatitis A infection. The original date range of concern was November 27, 2019, to December 16, 2019.
  • Anyone who in the last 14 days consumed the affected food, qualifies for a free hepatitis A vaccination. A single dose is required for protection.
  • IMPORTANT: Anyone who previously received the hepatitis A vaccination is protected and does not need an additional dose to protect against this exposure.

Individuals who ate the foods more than 14 days ago are advised to contact Public Health, monitor their health for signs and symptoms, and follow up with their health care provider if symptoms develop.

“Clerk-served” refers to food products that are offered for sale unpackaged and then packaged by a clerk upon request by the consumer (for example, deli meat for sale at the deli counter that is sliced and packaged by a clerk).

Any affected food that was purchased during this time period should be discarded or returned to the point of purchase. This food should not be eaten. To date, there is no evidence that anyone who consumed the food is infected.

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is hosting vaccination clinics to offer free hepatitis A vaccine to those who qualify.

Clinic details

Free vaccination clinics will be held at Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ main office at 1300 Paris Street in Sudbury. Drop-in (no appointment needed). Parking on site. Check phsd.ca for clinic wait times.

  • Friday, January 3, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, January 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For protection against this exposure, only one dose of the hepatitis A vaccine is needed. This dose is provided for free to people who consumed the food within the last 14 days (that’s when the vaccine is effective).

Symptoms

Common symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, stomach pain or discomfort, dark urine, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, loss of appetite, clay or ash-coloured bowel movements, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).

If you are concerned that you may have been infected with hepatitis A or if you have questions about getting the vaccine, contact Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200), visit phsd.ca for updates, or speak with your primary care provider as soon as possible.

This item was last modified on January 7, 2020