Maui News

Hepatitis A Cases: Hawaiian Airlines Flight Attendant and Chili’s Kapolei Employee

August 3, 2016, 7:06 AM HST
* Updated August 3, 7:13 AM
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The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health is continuing its investigation of a hepatitis A outbreak on the island of Oʻahu and has confirmed two new cases in a food service employee at Chili’s restaurant located in Kapolei, and a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant.

The flight attendant was in service between July 1-26, 2016 and worked a variety of flights including flights between Honolulu and Kahului Maui on July 3rd, 6th and 24th. (A complete list of service dates is included below).

State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park noted that at this time, no infections have been linked to exposure at these businesses and they are not sources of the outbreak.  The public is being alerted only as a precaution.  Health officials say the risk of transmission is extremely low and these businesses are working with the department to help prevent potentially new cases in the community.

“The most infectious period for this disease may be as much as two weeks before the onset of symptoms — before the individual even knows he or she is sick,” Park added. “The public’s health is our main concern, and we feel it is important to equip people with this information so they may work with their healthcare providers to protect their health.”

Persons who consumed food or beverage products from these businesses during the identified periods may have been exposed to the disease and are recommended to:

  1. Contact their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (IG), which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure.
  2. Monitor their health for symptoms of hepatitis A infection up to 50 days after exposure.
  3. Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
  4. Stay at home and contact their healthcare provider immediately if symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop.
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To help prevent the spread of disease during the investigation, the public is encouraged to talk to their healthcare providers about vaccination.

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As of July 26, the current number of hepatitis A cases linked to the outbreak is 93.  Below is a list of food service establishments that have had employees diagnosed with hepatitis A infection.

Business Island Location Dates of Service
Baskin-Robbins Oahu Waikele Center June 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 27, 30, and July 1 and 3, 2016
Chili’s Oahu Kapolei (590 Farrington Highway) July 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, and 27, 2016
Costco Bakery Oahu Hawaii Kai June 16-20, 2016
Hawaiian Airlines Flight list (click here) July 1-26, 2016
Sushi Shiono Hawaii Waikoloa Beach Resort, Queen’s MarketPlace (69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive) July 5-8, 11-15, and 18-21, 2016
Taco Bell Oahu Waipio (94-790 Ukee Street) June 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, and July 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 11, 2016

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes. Individuals, including food service employees, exhibiting symptoms of hepatitis A should stay home and contact their healthcare provider.

While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

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Hawaiian Airlines Affected Flights:

Hawaiian Airlines Affected Flights. Click to enlarge image.

Hawaiian Airlines Affected Flights. Click to enlarge image.

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