Maine CDC: Church supper attendees may have been exposed to hepatitis A

Posted Oct. 07, 2013, at 1:03 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 07, 2013, at 5:10 p.m.

DURHAM, Maine — The Maine Center for Disease Control is trying to round up approximately 100 people who may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus during a recent church supper at the Durham Friends Meetinghouse.

The supper at which diners could have been exposed took place on Saturday, Sept. 28.

The search for everyone who attended the supper is urgent because they can reduce the threat of contracting hepatitis A by attending a free vaccination clinic scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Durham Eureka Community Center, 605 Hallowell Drive.

The vaccine is most effective if administered within two weeks of a person’s exposure, which in this case is this coming Saturday, Oct. 12.

The Maine CDC is urging anyone who attended the church supper or anyone who ate food prepared at the event to attend the clinic.

Hepatitis A is caused by a virus that affects the liver.

“It can be particularly severe in people who have chronic liver disease,” said Dr. Sheila Pinette, Maine CDC director. “But the good news is that HAV is 100 percent preventable by vaccine.”

Maine CDC staff went to the church on Sunday and have been working with church officials to contact those who may have been exposed.

Hepatitis A is most commonly spread through consumption of contaminated food and is not spread through casual contact. Some signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include abdominal pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine and jaundice. Adults are more likely to show signs and symptoms of illness than children.

A health care provider can diagnose hepatitis A through a blood test. For information, call the Maine CDC at 800-821-5821.

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