Customers at Detroit’s one and only Whole Foods may have been exposed to Hepatitis A, a viral liver disease. The Detroit Health Department confirmed today that two cases Hepatitis A have been linked to the Midtown Whole Foods. According to WXYZ, authorities say one employee has been diagnosed with the virus and a customer who ate from the store’s prepared foods section has also contracted the illness. It’s still not clear how either case was spread.
Health officials are recommending that anyone who consumed prepared foods at the Mack Avenue Whole Foods between October 6 and October 12 visit a physician. Those who may have been exposed are encouraged to visit The Samaritan Center at 5555 Conner Street or Family Place at 8726 Woodward Avenue for a Health Department evaluation. Staff at Whole Foods are already receiving evaluations and treatments including vaccinations.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, executive director and health officer at the Detroit Health Department says in a statement:
While it remains unclear exactly how either of these individuals contracted Hepatitis A, and we know that Whole Foods Market Detroit has a comprehensive food safety protocol, we want to do our best to protect our residents and those of surrounding communities who may have been exposed. Whole Foods has been nothing but cooperative throughout this process.
Eater has reached out to Whole Foods Market for more information.
According to the World Health Organization, Hepatitis A is transmitted through contaminated food and water and through direct contact with an infected person. Symptoms, which can last for several months, include fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. The incubation period ranges from 14 to 50 days Most people who are infected make a full recovery and develop an immunity to the virus. Individuals who suspect they may have developed symptoms should stay home and contact their doctor.
Update, 10/20, 8:37 p.m.: Whole Foods released the following statement regarding the health department’s ongoing investigation:
After a team member in our Whole Foods Market store in Detroit was diagnosed with Hepatitis A, out of an abundance of caution, we immediately contacted the Detroit Health Department and began reviewing food logs and safety procedures. While there is no definitive link that the second case is related to the occurrence in our store, we are cooperating fully with the Detroit Health Department to ensure the safety of our customers and team members.
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