State health officials have issued the second warning this week about possible public exposure to hepatitis A involving food service in central Maine, this time in connection to an Oakland restaurant.

The Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention said in a news release late Wednesday it had identified a case of acute hepatitis in a worker who handled food at the Waterville Country Club’s Nineteen 16 Restaurant at 39 Country Club Road in Oakland. The possible exposure occurred between April 26 and May 17, the CDC said, warning that anyone who purchased or ate food from the restaurant during that time could be at risk for hepatitis A infection.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can spread through contaminated food or water, or through close personal contact with an infectious person.

The CDC said there was no evidence linking the Oakland restaurant case to a recently confirmed case of hepatitis A involving a deli worker at the Skowhegan Walmart, who worked for two weeks this month while sick.

Nicholas Pelotte, the Waterville Country Club’s general manager, said Thursday the club has been in contact with the CDC, acted in accordance with its guidance and continues to do so.

“We have done things and continue to do things to make sure we are in full compliance,” Pelotte said. “We have also asked our own questions of them about whether we should keep the restaurant open. They have answered that we should keep the restaurant open.”


Pelotte said the infected employee has not been at the club since showing symptoms of illness, which was more than a week ago, and the club did not learn the nature of the illness until Wednesday and that’s when communication between the CDC and the club started.

Maine has had 25 confirmed cases of hepatitis A so far this year, with two cases pending classification, according to Maine CDC spokesman Robert Long. Two of the 25 confirmed cases are listed as food handlers, he said.

“At the end of May 2021, Maine CDC had confirmed 28 cases of hepatitis A in the state,” Long said Thursday in an email.

He noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention emphasizes that when hearing about hepatitis A, many people think about contaminated food and water. However, in the United States, hepatitis A is more commonly spread from person to person, such as through sex, by caring for someone who is ill or by using drugs with others.

The hepatitis A vaccine is the best way to prevent HAV infection, according to the U.S. CDC:

State health officials said people who are exposed to hepatitis A can avoid getting sick if they get a vaccine within 14 days of exposure. In the Oakland restaurant case, health officials recommended that people discard any leftover food they bought during the time period in question and to monitor for symptoms if they ate there. Symptoms include fatigue, low or no appetite, stomach pain, nausea and jaundice.


“Hepatitis A can spread from person-to-person or through contaminated food or water, especially in food prepared by a person who is infected,” the Maine CDC said in its release. “Symptoms begin to show 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus. An infected person can spread the virus to others about two weeks before symptoms begin and lasting until one week after symptoms begin.”

In the Skowhegan case, the CDC said in a separate news release earlier this week that the deli worker at the Walmart store at 60 Fairgrounds Market Place worked day shifts from the period of May 7 to 21, and warned that customers who purchased or ate food from the deli during that time could be at risk for infection.

“This applies only to food prepared in the deli during these dates and times,” the release said. “No other food or items were potentially contaminated.”

Long said earlier this week that the CDC did not know how many deli customers there were over the two weeks this month. There were no known confirmed cases of a person contracting hepatitis A after visiting the deli, Long said.

Officials recommend that anyone who purchased items from the deli during the two weeks discard the items and to get vaccinated if the items have already been consumed. Any employees who worked during those times in the deli are also encouraged to get vaccinated.

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