July 15, 2014 2:31 pm

Hepatitis A exposure still possible for Sask. motel visitors

Saskatchewan Ministry of Health asking motel visitors to make sure and call in after a possible risk of hepatitis A transmission in June.

Robyn Beck / Getty Images

SASKATOON – The provincial ministry of health is warning people who were potentially exposed to hepatitis A at a motel in southwestern Saskatchewan last month.

Health officials are still following up on a case where an infected person worked as a food handler at the Mainstay Inn Motel and Restaurant near Riverhurst, Sask. from June 1 to 22.

Five Hills Health Region has completed a thorough inspection of the motel has confirmed the restaurant does not pose any risk of infection.

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So far, over 600 people who may have consumed food or beverages at the location have come forward.

However, officials have not been able to reach some visitors and there may also be others who are not aware of their possible exposure.

“We would like to discuss important hepatitis A information with those who we were unable to call back, or who were there over the same time period but have not yet called in,” said Dr. Mark Voogt, medical health officer for the Five Hills Health Region.

People who left a message at 1-888-425-1111 but have not yet been contacted are also urged to call again.

The ministry says there are no confirmed cases of hepatitis A related to this incident at this time but the incubation period does not expire until Aug. 10.

“The risk of contracting hepatitis A infection is low in this specific situation,” said Voogt.

According to the ministry, for every 1,000 people infected, one to three could be fatal.

The hepatitis A virus is found in the bowel movements of infected persons. Carriers who do not thoroughly wash their hands can pass the virus to others by handling food.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include: yellowing of the eyes; dark urine; lighter-coloured stools; fatigue; fever; nausea; and loss of appetite.

The time between becoming infected and developing symptoms usually takes a month. Infected persons are contagious two weeks before they start developing symptoms and a week after.

Many of those infected may not show symptoms.

There is no known cure or specific treatment for hepatitis A. The vaccine is the best way to protect against infection, according to the ministry.

For more information about hepatitis A, call HealthLine at 811.

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