The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) has identified a case of hepatitis A in a Lewiston food service worker. Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can spread through person-to-person contact or by consuming contaminated food or water.
The individual worked during their infectious period at Marco’s Italian Restaurant, 12 Mollison Way in Lewiston on the following dates: September 11, 13, 15–16, 18, 20-22, 25, and 27-28, 2023. Anyone who purchased and/or ate food or drink from this restaurant during these days could be at risk for hepatitis A infection. An infected person can spread the virus to others from about two weeks before symptom onset until one week after symptoms begin.
You can prevent getting hepatitis A with a vaccine. People exposed to hepatitis A can avoid getting sick if they get the vaccine within 14 days of the exposure. If you think you were exposed and may need a vaccine, contact a health care provider. Hepatitis A vaccine is available for anyone who does not have health insurance at certain facilities across Maine.
Hepatitis A vaccine is a two-dose series. After one dose, at least 94 out of 100 people become immune for several years. It is important to get the full two-dose series to ensure long-term protection.
Individuals who were potentially exposed should:
- Discard any leftover food bought at this restaurant during the dates listed above.
- If eligible, get vaccinated.
- If you ate or drank from this restaurant during these dates, get a hepatitis A vaccine within 14 days of the last time eating or drinking there.
- If more than 14 days have passed, people who have not previously been vaccinated may still get the vaccine at any time to protect against future exposures.
- Individuals who worked in the restaurant during these dates should get a hepatitis A vaccine within 14 days of their last date worked.
- Ask your health care provider if you need hepatitis A immune globulin (IG) in addition to hepatitis A vaccine; certain people may need both.
- If you are already vaccinated for hepatitis A, you are already protected. You do not need to get any additional hepatitis A vaccine doses now.
- Monitor for symptoms of hepatitis A. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention:
- feeling tired
- low or no appetite
- stomach pain
- dark-colored urine
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- joint pain
Symptoms begin 15–50 days after exposure to the virus and can range from mild to severe. People who get very ill may need to go to a hospital and their symptoms can last several months. Most children younger than 6 years old have mild or no symptoms.
Cases of hepatitis A in Maine have remained elevated since an initial increase in 2019. People at increased risk of becoming infected should protect themselves with a hepatitis A vaccine.