Maine CDC looks into HAV case at community event

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that it is investigating a case of hepatitis A infection traced to a late September community event in Durham.

An individual with HAV prepared and served food at the Durham Friends Meetinghouse on September 28 during a church supper attended by approximately 100 people. Staff with the Maine CDC are working with church officials to reach out to people who may have been exposed to the virus.

HAV most commonly spreads through the consumption of contaminated food and is not spread through casual contact. Some signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include nausea, pain, fatigue, vomiting, dark urine, diarrhea and jaundice. Adults are more likely to show symptoms of HAV illness than children.

"It can be particularly severe in people who have chronic liver disease," Sheila Pinette, the director of the Maine CDC, said. "But the good news is that HAV is 100 percent preventable by vaccine."

When the vaccine is administered within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A, vaccination can be very effective in preventing illness. The Maine CDC urged individuals who attended the event and anyone who ate food prepared at the event to visit a free HAV vaccination clinic.

Healthcare providers can diagnose hepatitis A using a blood test.