WEST JORDAN — Health officials issued a warning Sunday evening that some customers at a West Jordan convenience store may have been exposed to hepatitis A and should receive an injection to prevent infection.
Health officials say the possible exposure occurred when an infected employee worked while ill and potentially handled certain items in the store.
Health officials estimate 2,000 customers may be affected, based on the average sales volume of the 7-Eleven, 2666 W. 7800 South.
Salt Lake County Health Department officials are recommending a preventative vaccine for customers who visited the store from Dec. 26 through Wednesday and who used the restroom or consumed any fountain drinks or self-serve beverage, fresh fruit or any item from the store's hot food case such as pizza, hot dogs, chicken wings or taquitos.
Packaged items such as bottled drinks and microwaved foods are not implicated in the possible exposure, health officials reported. Customers who are fully vaccinated against hepatitis A also do not need to contact the health department.
Those who may have been infected are being encouraged to call 385-468-4636 for instructions. The phone line will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Monday, and health department staff will screen callers for exposure risk and provide them with options for receiving a prophylactic hepatitis A vaccine, health officials said.
"People in need of prophylaxis must receive it within a short time period of their possible exposure, so it is essential that affected customers call the health department as soon as possible," health officials said in a news release.
The Salt Lake County Health Department believes the case is linked to the ongoing hepatitis A outbreak the county's homeless population has been experiencing since August 2017.
"This is an important reminder to food service establishments that they should consider vaccinating their food-handling employees against hepatitis A,” said Gary Edwards, executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department. “It’s also important that food handlers be conscientious with hygiene, hand washing and not working when ill — and that managers be vigilant in enforcing those important requirements that help protect public health.”
Health officials said 7-Eleven is cooperating fully with its investigation. Since discovering the possible exposure, the affected store has been sanitized according to health department recommendations, health officials said.