The Maine Center for Disease Control is investigating a case of hepatitis A that has been traced to a community supper at the Durham Friends Meetinghouse on Sept. 28, Sheila Pinette, director of the agency, said Monday.

“An individual who served and prepared food at the event later tested positive for hepatitis A,” said Pinette. “We are urging anyone who attended the event and ate the prepared food to seek the vaccination immediately. We believe roughly 100 people attended the church supper.”

In response, the agency will hold a vaccination clinic Wednesday, Oct. 8, from 1-4 p.m. at the Eureka Community Center at 605 Hallowell Road in Durham.

When a vaccine is administered within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A, it is effective in preventing the illness, Pinette said.

Staff from the Maine Center for Disease Control visited the building on Sunday to work with church officials to help reach anyone who may have been exposed to the virus, said Pinette.

The virus is spread through consumption of contaminated food and not casual contact. According to Pinette, signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include abdominal pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine and jaundice. Adults are more likely to show signs and symptoms of illness than children.

“The bigger risk is with adults as children have a greater chance of being vaccinated in the past five years,” said Pinette.

The health officer for Durham, Deborah Larrabee, said she first heard about the incident on Monday and has been working with the CDC to get information out to the general public.

“We want anyone who attended and ate at the function to attend the vaccination clinic,” said Larrabee, a longtime resident and a town columnist for the Tri-Town Weekly. “I don’t recall something like this happening before.”

According to its website, Durham Friends Meeting is a faith-based community rooted in the principles of the Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers.

Church members contacted did not return multiple phone calls from the Tri-Town Weekly before deadline Monday.


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