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Health officials warn of hepatitis A exposure at Tempe Genghis Grill

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – Patrons who dined at a Tempe stir-fry restaurant over the past month may have been exposed to hepatitis A, authorities warned Monday.

Maricopa County Department of Public Health said the exposure may have occurred at the Genghis Grill in Tempe Marketplace on 10 dates in May and June.

“We know that the possibility for exposure occurred only at that location in Tempe Marketplace, and we know that both patrons and individuals who work at that location are possibly at risk of being exposed,” Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, county medical director for disease control, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

The days of concern were May 30 and June 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 and 18.

Anybody who ate at Genghis Grill those days should see a health care provider if they experience the following symptoms: nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, fatigue, fever, abdominal pain, dark-colored urine, light or whitish bowel movements and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Sunenshine said hepatitis A can be serious but is rarely fatal.

“It can lead to prolonged hospitalizations, but the good news is once you recover from hepatitis A you’re completely cured of it, you can’t give it anyone and you are no longer infected,” she said.

The illness affects the liver and can be spread by food, drink or touch.

“It’s typically from someone who did not properly wash their hands,” Sunenshine said.

Symptoms usually occur about one month after exposure but could develop anywhere between 15 and 60 days.

People who visited the Genghis Grill on June 18 are still within the two-week window to receive a vaccine to prevent infection.

Arizona is one of many states experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak, mainly among intravenous drug users and people with unstable housing.

As of May 26, there had been 409 cases statewide and 200 in Maricopa County as part of the outbreak, which began in November 2018.

“Hepatitis A is easily preventable through hand hygiene, washing your hands after you go to the bathroom and before you eat,” Sunenshine said.

High-risk individuals without insurance can get vaccinated at a county clinic.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report.

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