Alberta health officials are issuing a warning to the public after a person confirmed to have hepatitis A was found to have been preparing food at a hotel and a school in Nanton while they were infectious.
According to Alberta Health Services, the person was preparing food at the Auditorium Hotel on Friday, Jan. 11 and Friday, Jan. 18. They were also preparing food at JT Foster School on Thursday, Jan. 17.
AHS said anyone that ate food at the hotel on those dates may have been exposed to the infection and should call Health Link for an assessment on possible exposure date and risk. They will be given information on immunization clinics as needed, AHS said.
Additionally, anyone who ate bannock made by JT Foster’s outdoor club on Jan. 17 could have been exposed to hepatitis A. They are being contacted directly by AHS through the school, officials said, adding that immunization clinics are being set up.
Immunizations can be given within 14 days of exposure and often times can prevent the illness, AHS said.
“There is no ongoing risk of infection associated with the restaurant. It has been cleaned, inspected and approved as safe to operate by AHS Environmental Public Health inspectors,” the health authority said.
According to AHS, anyone who thinks they might have been exposed to the infection should monitor for symptoms until March 8 as the illness can present anywhere from 15 to 50 days after exposure.
Symptoms to look for include fatigue, poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain followed by dark urine, light-coloured stool and yellowing of the eyes and skin many days later.
“While we believe the risk to the public is low, hepatitis A is a serious infection,” said Dr. Jia Hu, medical officer of health with the Calgary Zone.
Hepatitis A is a viral liver infection that’s spread through the fecal-oral route — typically through direct contact with an infected person. People can also contract the infection by ingesting contaminated food or water.