A microscopic image of the hepatitis A virus. Credit: Courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Customers who have recently eaten at the Waterville Country Club’s Nineteen 16 restaurant in Oakland may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

A food service worker who was ill with hepatitis A handled food while infectious between April 26  and May 17, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson Robert Long said Wednesday.

Anyone who purchased and ate food from this restaurant between those dates is at risk of contracting the contagious liver disease, according to Long.

Long advised anyone who bought food between those days from the restaurant should throw it away.

Anyone who may have eaten food purchased between the above dates or worked closely with the infected person and suspects they could have been exposed to the virus should get vaccinated within 14 days of their exposure, according to Long. Those already vaccinated against hepatitis A do not need to get another dose.

A vaccination isn’t recommended for those outside the 14-day window when it is effective against infection, but they should watch for hepatitis A symptoms, which can show 15 to 50 days after exposure.

Symptoms of hepatitis A, a liver infection, include fatigue, nausea, stomach pain, dark urine and jaundice, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those can last up to two months.

Most people who contract hepatitis A do not have long-lasting illness, according to the federal health agency.

The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination, though good hand hygiene also plays an important role in preventing its spread, according to the Maine CDC. The Maine CDC strongly recommends hepatitis A vaccination for people who use drugs (injection or non-injection), people experiencing homelessness, men who have sex with men and people who are, or were recently, incarcerated.

The case reported in Oakland does not appear to be related to the recently confirmed case in Skowhegan, according to Long.

Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.