Montreal’s public health department issued a warning about possible exposure to hepatitis A at a hostel in the city’s Plateau neighbourhood.
The notice, which was published online Friday, says anyone who stayed at Auberge Chez Jean on Henri-Julien Street between the dates of July 29 to Aug. 18 was potentially exposed to the highly contagious liver infection.
“Several dozen people could have been exposed to the virus during this highly touristic period in Montreal when a contagious person frequented the premises,” health authorities said.
“Given the high number of potential contacts with the virus, the Montreal (public health authority) is struggling to find all the people potentially exposed as part of its epidemiological investigation.”
Hostel guests who have never contracted hepatitis A and have not been vaccinated against the virus are urged to monitor themselves for symptoms for at least 50 days from the last day of their stay. Anyone who experiences symptoms should seek medical attention and inform staff about their exposure to hepatitis A.
The symptoms include fever, fatigue, vomiting, jaundice, and abdominal pain. Hepatitis A can still be transmitted by a person who doesn’t exhibit symptoms of the disease, according to the department.
Those who are unvaccinated but stayed at Auberge Chez Jean in the last two weeks can also receive a free-of-charge vaccine against hepatitis A. The vaccine is available at the Berri-Centre-Sud centre at 955 de Maisonneuve Blvd, which is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.
“You can still get the hepatitis A vaccine to prevent or reduce your risk of developing the disease,” the message reads.
Authorities say those who are vaccinated against hepatitis A or have already had the disease in the past are considered protected and there is very little risk of contracting it again.
The public health department says the cases of this disease are “relatively rare in Montreal,” with only 13 cases reported since the beginning of the year.
— with files from The Canadian Press