The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is working with Panda Express in Lancaster (44411 Valley Central Way Lancaster, CA 93536) to alert consumers of a possible hepatitis A exposure. Public Health identified hepatitis A virus infection in a food handler who worked at this location.

No additional cases have been identified at this time.

Public Health recommends hepatitis A vaccination for patrons who consumed food or beverages from Panda Express between July 21–August 4, 2023. Vaccination is not necessary for people who previously completed the hepatitis A vaccine series or are known to have a past infection.

Hepatitis A vaccinations might be available through local pharmacies or physicians’ offices. In addition, Public Health will be offering free hepatitis A vaccinations to exposed persons at:

Antelope Valley Health Center

335 E Ave K 6 B

Lancaster, CA 93535

Monday, August 14, 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Tuesday, August 15 through Friday, August 18, 8 am – 4:30 pm

Most people will have protective levels of antibody after one dose of the Hepatitis A vaccine but can choose to visit their primary care provider to complete the series with a second dose 6 months after receiving their first dose.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A is highly contagious and can be spread from person-to-person through the fecal-oral route (when contaminated feces from an infected person are somehow ingested by another person during close personal contact) or by eating or drinking contaminated food or water). Most adults with acute hepatitis A will have symptoms that may include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark colored urine and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Symptoms vary from mild to severe. There is no specific antiviral treatment. While prompt vaccination is likely to prevent infection, infection may occur in those who receive vaccination too late. Patrons who develop symptoms should call their provider and for a Hepatitis A test.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent disease. In addition, infection can be prevented by vaccination after a known exposure to a person with infectious hepatitis A. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems might benefit from receiving immune globulin (IG) in addition to hepatitis A vaccination for prevention after an exposure. For any questions about hepatitis A or the need for immune globulin, Public Health recommends that you speak to your primary care provider. If you do not have a regular provider, call 2-1-1 for assistance.

Public Health will continue monitoring all known individuals who may have been exposed to individuals ill with hepatitis A.

For more information, contact: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/diseases/hepa.htm

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Photo of Bruce Clark Bruce Clark

Bruce Clark is a partner in Marler Clark. In 1993, Bruce became involved in foodborne illness litigation as an attorney for Jack in the Box restaurants in its E. coli O157:H7 personal injury litigation. The Jack in the Box litigation spanned more than…

Bruce Clark is a partner in Marler Clark. In 1993, Bruce became involved in foodborne illness litigation as an attorney for Jack in the Box restaurants in its E. coli O157:H7 personal injury litigation. The Jack in the Box litigation spanned more than four years and involved more than 100 lawsuits in four states. Since that time, Bruce has been continuously involved in food and waterborne illness litigation involving bacterial, viral, and parasitic agents in settings ranging from large scale outbreaks to individual cases. He has extensive expertise in the medical, microbiological, and epidemiological aspects of foodborne illness cases gleaned from more than a decade of working with leading experts across the country. Bruce frequently speaks to public health groups as well as food industry groups about the realities of foodborne illness litigation and efforts that can help avoid the damage foodborne pathogens inflict.