Alberta Health Services and Convenant Health are issuing a public alert after authorities confirmed a case of hepatitis A involving a cafeteria worker at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital.

Patients, visitors and staff may have been exposed to the virus if they consumed food at the cafeteria between February 26 and March 10, and March 13 to 18; or inpatients who ate food delivered to their rooms on February 27 and 28, and March 1, 3, 4, 7 and 15.

“While we believe the risk to the public is low, hepatitis A is a serious infection,” said Dr. Jasmine Hasselback, a medical officer of health for AHS.

“As a precaution, anyone who consumed food or drink from the cafeteria is advised to monitor themselves and their family for symptoms for 50 days after their last exposure which may be up to and including May 7, 2018.”

There is no ongoing risk of infection in the cafeteria, said AHS. The facility has been cleaned, inspected and approved as safe to operate by AHS inspectors.

Warning signs

Symptoms of hepatitis A may include: tiredness; poor appetite; nausea and vomiting; abdominal pain and fever; followed by dark-coloured urine and light-coloured stools; and yellowing of eyes and skin several days later.

Some people, especially young children, may get hepatitis A infection without noticing any symptoms; however, they are still infectious to others.

People showing these symptoms between now and May 7 are asked to contact Health Link at 811.

Immunization clinic offered

A hepatitis A immunization clinic will be held in Edmonton on March 23 to 29. The location has not yet been released.

Immunization after being exposed can often prevent illness from happening, but only if it is provided within two weeks since the last exposure, AHS explained.

The clinic is only being offered to those who consumed food from the cafeteria or had food delivered to their rooms after March 9, 2018.