State health officials are warning that recent patrons of Cap’n Fish’s Boothbay Harbor Boat Trips may have be at risk for acute hepatitis A virus infection.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday that a food service worker  prepared food while infectious from Aug. 18 through Sept. 8, and that patrons of the Boothbay Harbor business may be exposed. Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease, whose symptoms can range from mild illness to severe sickness that could require hospitalization.

The business provides scenic cruises and whale-watching trips for visitors to the region.

To reduce the likelihood of illness, the Maine CDC recommends that anyone who ate, drank or worked at Boothbay Harbor Boat Trips in Maine on Sept. 2, 4, and 5 should get the hepatitis A vaccine. People with compromised immune systems, or parents of children younger than 12 months, should consult a health care provider about receiving hepatitis A immune globulin.

People who visited Cap’n Fish’s Boothbay Harbor Boat Trips on Aug. 19, 21, 22, 23 24, 26, 28, 29 and 30 could have been exposed but are outside the window for which the vaccine could help prevent illness from this exposure, the Maine CDC said. Those individuals should watch for symptoms and seek medical attention if they develop any.

The state agency is working with the business owner and local health care providers to notify affected parties and minimize risk of further exposure.

Most adults with hepatitis A have a sudden onset of symptoms such as tiredness, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine and yellowing of the skin and eyes.  Most children younger than 6 years old do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection.

Hepatitis A can be spread through contaminated food or water, especially in food prepared by a person who is infected. Symptoms will begin to show 15-50 days after exposure to the virus. An infected person is infectious and can spread the virus to others about two weeks before symptoms start until one week after symptoms end.

More information on hepatitis A can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm 

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