Acme shoppers who ate precut fruit and vegetables from a store in South Philadelphia last month should consider getting vaccinated “as soon as possible” because a worker at the store has “acute” hepatitis A, the city’s Department of Public Health said Saturday.
The warning involves the Acme store at 1400 E. Passyunk Ave. and purchases made there between March 17 and 29, the department announced on Twitter. While urging shoppers to get vaccinated, it said the risk of hepatitis A infection was “very low.”
The store is “aware of the situation and is working collaboratively with the health department,” health officials said.
Acme was notified by the health department on Tuesday that one of its employees at the Passyunk Avenue store was being treated for hepatitis A, a company spokesperson said in an email Saturday afternoon.
“The health and safety of our customers and associates is Acme’s number one priority,” said the spokesperson, Dana Ward. “Once we were made aware, we began working directly with the Department of Public Health to take the proper actions necessary, including extensive cleaning of all impacted areas as well as offering Hepatitis A vaccines for individuals 18 years and older at our pharmacy.”
Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver and can spread when an infected person does not wash hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and then prepares food, the department said.
Those infected with hepatitis A typically develop symptoms two to six weeks after they have contact with the virus. Symptoms can range from mild diarrhea and vomiting to severe symptoms of jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes. Fever, low energy, stomach pain, and dark urine are also signs, the department said. People who develop hepatitis A symptoms should contact a doctor immediately.
There is no medication to treat the virus. Many people get better on their own at home, though some can become very sick and require hospitalization, the department said.
Those who have previously received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine or have had hepatitis A in the past do not need to be vaccinated, the health department said.
People who need a hepatitis A vaccine should contact their health-care provider’s office or visit a pharmacy. Those who need help getting a vaccine can contact the department at 215-685-6741 on Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.