By Jessica Klymchuk
Kamloops This Week
At least 360 people have been immunized in response to an alert issued by the Interior Health Authority after an employee at the Dairy Queen restaurant in Clearwater was diagnosed with hepatitis A.
Immunization clinics were held in Clearwater, where 336 people were vaccinated, and in Kamloops, where 23 people were vaccinated.
One person in Williams Lake was immunized.
No additional cases have been confirmed and Interior Health said there is no ongoing source of infection as the infected employee is not working at the restaurant.
According to Interior Health, all food handlers are undergoing vaccination to ensure there is no further spread of the virus.
The last immunization clinic was held Friday at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital in Clearwater.
The health authority said the vaccine can prevent the disease, but only if given within 14 days of exposure. It is advising anyone who feels they are at risk and haven’t been vaccinated to visit hospital for testing.
According to a press release issued by the health authority, hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver.
“Symptoms usually develop 15 to 50 days after exposure and include nausea, abdominal cramps, fever, dark urine and/or yellowing of the skin,” it stated.
The illness can last for several weeks, but Interior Health said the virus goes away on its own in most cases. People can only contract the hepatitis A virus once, after which your body builds up a defence.
The health authority said the virus is spread through personal contact or contaminated food handled by an infected person.
Anyone who ate at Clearwater Dairy Queen between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Dec. 10, between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Dec. 11, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Dec. 15, between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Dec. 16 and between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Dec. 17 and Dec. 18 should be vaccinated, according to Interior Health.