GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WABC) -- The Camden County Health Department says thousands of residents may be impacted after a Starbucks employee recently contracted hepatitis A.
Officials say the employee handled food at the Starbucks located at 1490 Blackwood Clementon Road in Gloucester Township.
The health department recommends any member of the public who patronized the Starbucks facility on Nov. 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13 to get the hepatitis A vaccine.
"The county health department has been working closely with the patient and the staff at the Starbucks to address the situation," Camden County Health Officer Paschal Nwako said. "Our highest priority is ensuring everyone involved remains safe and healthy. The patient is not currently working, and close contacts have been identified. We encourage anyone who may believe they were exposed to get vaccinated against hepatitis A by calling the county health department or your primary care physician."
The food worker who contracted the virus is not currently working, and health officials have identified all those who were in close contact with the worker.
But officials estimate that as many as 4,000 people may be impacted.
Camden County spokesman Dan Keeshan and his 8-year-old daughter are among those who visited the Starbucks during that time period.
"I found out that my daughter and myself were both exposed possibly to hepatitis A," he said. "I was able to get my vaccination today and ultimately I feel good."
The health department is offering free vaccinations to anyone who visited the Starbucks during that time period.
The vaccines will be offered at the clinic at 508 Lakeland Road in Blackwood from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.
"If you came in contact with material that came out of the drive-thru or you went inside of the building itself, you should absolutely get vaccinated," Keeshan said.
Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts, from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces or stool of an infected person.
Signs and symptoms of hepatitis A can include the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal discomfort
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored bowel movement
- Joint pain
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
Health officials say symptoms of the disease surface two to four weeks after exposure, although they can in some instances occur two to seven weeks after exposure.
Children under six years of age with hepatitis A often do not have or show few signs and symptoms.
For more information on hepatitis A and vaccine availability, patrons of Starbucks can contact the Camden County Health Department at (856) 549-0530 or their primary care physician.
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