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UPDATE: Whole Foods Worker Infected with Hepatitis A After Outbreak in Los Angles County Homeless Population

Disease largely passed through human feces, says Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

UPDATE: After initially reporting a number of Hepatitis A cases among LA County's large homeless population, a few days later, the health department now reports a case in a non-homeless individual, a worker at a Whole Foods market in Beverly Hills. This is an expected result of allowing health conditions to foster in a certain population that are strictly regulated in other populations.

May 17, 2024

Public Health Investigating a Case of Reported Hepatitis A at an LA County Grocery Store

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is investigating a report of hepatitis A virus infection in an employee of Whole Foods Market in Beverly Hills (239 N. Crescent Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210).

No additional cases have been identified at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

Based on the employee's job duties and symptoms while at work, Public Health is recommending that anyone who purchased products from the seafood counter section of the store between April 20th and May 13th receive hepatitis A vaccine if they are not already immune. People who have not received the hepatitis A vaccine or had a previous hepatitis A infection may not be protected from the virus.

Receiving vaccination as soon as possible after exposure could help reduce the risk of developing hepatitis A infection. Residents should contact their local pharmacy or medical provider for the vaccine. Public Health is working with the company to ensure employees that are not immune are referred for vaccination.

About Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.

There is no specific antiviral treatment for hepatitis A. While prompt vaccination is likely to prevent infection, infection may occur in those who receive vaccination too late. Patrons who develop symptoms should call their provider and ask for a hepatitis A test.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent disease. Infection can be prevented by vaccination after a known exposure to a person with infectious hepatitis A. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems might benefit from receiving immune globulin (IG) in addition to hepatitis A vaccination for prevention after an exposure. For any questions about hepatitis A or the need for immune globulin, Public Health recommends that you speak to your primary care provider. If you do not have a regular provider, call 2-1-1 for assistance.

Public Health will continue monitoring all known individuals who may have been exposed to individuals ill with hepatitis A.

For more information, visit:

May 13, 2024 - The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A infections. Public Health has identified five cases among people experiencing homelessness since mid-March 2024. Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that can be spread from person-to-person even before they feel sick. The infection is caused by the hepatitis A virus, which is found in the stool and blood of people who are infected. Individuals that are unhoused are at higher risk for contracting hepatitis A infection because they often have limited access to handwashing and toileting facilities.

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Those who've visited Whole Foods Beverly Hills should get a Hepatitis A vaccination. How long until all of us are recommended?

Public Health is offering free hepatitis A vaccines to people experiencing homelessness in encampments and at interim housing sites where there is risk of potential exposure. Hepatitis A vaccine is typically a two dose vaccine series that is safe and highly effective in preventing infection. Additionally, previously unvaccinated people can receive hepatitis A vaccine soon after exposure to protect against developing the infection.

Public Health continues to monitor for and immediately investigate suspect hepatitis A cases. Public Health is working closely with healthcare providers to request that they remain vigilant for hepatitis A. Public Health is also working with organizations that serve people experiencing homelessness to educate the community about the increase in hepatitis A, encourage people with symptoms of hepatitis A seek medical care, and to protect themselves by getting vaccinated.

Although the current risk to the public is low, Public Health recommends residents take the following actions to help prevent the spread of disease:

Check if you have been vaccinated for hepatitis A. If you haven't, contact your medical provider to determine if you should be vaccinated. Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A.

Wash your hands with soap and water before eating and preparing food and after using the bathroom.

About Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Symptoms of hepatitis include fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dark urine, or yellow eyes/skin. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people. Hepatitis A is usually transmitted through eating contaminated food, or through close contact with a person while infectious and a person with the virus can transmit illness up to two weeks prior to the onset of symptoms.

Areas with poor access to adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene services are high risk for experiencing outbreaks.

For more information on hepatitis A or locations for vaccination, visit


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