The Cape May County Health Department says a single case of hepatitis A in a food worker employed at Dunkin’ Donuts at 962 West Avenue in Ocean City has been confirmed.

The county says this person worked while they were potentially infectious between Sunday, Jan. 27, and Thursday, Jan. 31.

The management of this establishment is cooperating with sanitary procedures and the investigation.

While the risk to people who ate or drank at the Ocean City Dunkin’ Donuts is low, out of an abundance of caution, the Cape May Health Department is recommending that they receive “post-exposure prophylaxis” (PEP).

PEP consists of hepatitis A vaccine and/or immune globulin and can further reduce the risk of acquiring hepatitis A. To be effective, PEP should be received as soon as possible, but no later than Feb. 14, according to authorities.

The county health department says hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. 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:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored bowel movement
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)

Signs and symptoms usually appear two to four weeks after exposure, although they may occur two to seven weeks after exposure. Children under 6 years of age with hepatitis A often do not have or show few signs and symptoms.

Dunkin' Donuts worked closely with the Cape May County Department of Health and the restaurant has been cleared to reopen.

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