An employee at a Boothbay variety store handled food last week while infected with acute hepatitis A, potentially exposing patrons to the highly contagious liver disease, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

The worker handled food at T&D Variety, 601 Wiscasset Road in Boothbay between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6, and between 12:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 7. Patrons who purchased certain food items from the store during those hours may have been exposed, the Maine CDC said.

Hepatitis A is spread through close personal contact with someone who is infected or when someone ingests contaminated food or drink. The disease can be prevented with a vaccine.

The Maine CDC said the food most likely to have been contaminated were those meals prepared to order. No pre-made deli meals or other food and beverages were potentially contaminated.

The Maine CDC is recommending that deli food items made to order during those times last week be discarded and that anyone who consumed food prepared during those times receive a hepatitis A vaccine within 14 days of potential exposure. Individuals who have documentation of completing the hepatitis A vaccine series are protected and do no need to receive additional doses.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include a sudden onset of fatigue, poor appetite, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine and jaundice. Symptoms can appear 15 to 50 days after exposure and last for up to two months.

For more information on hepatitis A, visit:

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