December 3, 1999
Hepatitis A Outbreak in St. Louis Linked to
16 confirmed Cases Reported
St. Louis, MO (SafetyAlerts)
- The Health Departments of St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County in
Missouri and Madison County in Illinois are alerting area residents to several recent
cases of hepatitis A linked to a downtown St. Louis restaurant.
The St. Louis City Health Department Wednesday
closed the Market Street Deli at 2906 Market St. after receiving reports of hepatitis A
cases in persons who had eaten food from that establishment recently.
Health officials are also advising persons who ate
food from the Market Street Deli between October 15 and November 15 to be alert to
symptoms of hepatitis A and to consult their health care providers if they become ill.
Symptoms usually develop 15 to 50 days following
an exposure and typically last one to two weeks or longer. Symptoms may include abdominal
discomfort, diarrhea, low grade fever, nausea, pale stools, yellow skin and eyes, loss of
appetite, tiredness and dark urine. Physicians should request the specific test for IgM
antibodies to hepatitis A on all suspect cases and should notify their Health Department
of suspected cases before the final blood work is reported.
Officials emphasized the importance of thorough
hand washing in preventing the spread of hepatitis A and also stressed that food service
workers should not be at work when they are ill -- especially if they have diarrhea.
Confirmed cases linked to the Market Street Deli have been reported in St. Louis City (1),
St. Louis County(8) and St. Charles County(4) in Missouri, and Madison County(3) in
Illinois. All of the persons reported eating at the Market Street Deli near the end of
After receiving reports of the hepatitis A cases,
the St. Louis City Health Department inspected the restaurant Wednesday morning and also
tested employees there to see if any were infected with the hepatitis A virus. One of the
employees tested positive for hepatitis A.
Persons become infected with the hepatitis A virus
by ingesting fecal-contaminated material. This can happen when fecal matter gets into food
if the person preparing or serving the food has not washed hands after using the bathroom.
Officials said that although the area is seeing
more hepatitis A cases than is usual, the St. Louis area is not experiencing an epidemic
such as that in l993 when St. Louis City alone recorded more than 700 cases. St. Louis
City has recorded 61 hepatitis A cases to date in l999, compared to 19 during all of l998.
St. Louis County has recorded 51 cases in l999, compared to 21 in 1998. Other
jurisdictions are also seeing higher numbers of cases than they have seen in recent years.
Safety Alerts compiles comprehensive safety recall information for
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and contaminated foods. For complete information regarding current recalls, past recalls
and timely product warning notification visit: www.safetyalerts.com.
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