LANCASTER – Los Angeles County health officials are recommending that patrons who consumed food or beverages at a Panda Express in Lancaster between July 21 and Aug. 4 get vaccinated against hepatitis A.
The warning comes after the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health identified an hepatitis A virus infection in a food handler who worked at the restaurant at 44411 Valley Central Way in Lancaster, department officials said. So far, no additional cases have been identified.
Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is highly contagious and can be spread from person-to-person through the fecal- oral route (when contaminated feces from an infected person are somehow ingested by another person during close personal contact), or by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Most adults with acute hepatitis A will have symptoms that may include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark colored urine and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Symptoms vary from mild to severe.
Hepatitis A vaccinations are available through some local pharmacies or physicians’ offices. In addition, the county health department will be offering free hepatitis A vaccinations to exposed persons at Antelope Valley Health Center, 335 E. Ave. K, between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 14, and between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
While prompt vaccination is likely to prevent infection, an infection may still occur in those who are vaccinated too late. The vaccination is not necessary for people who previously completed the hepatitis A vaccine or have had a past infection.