Maine CDC investigates Hepatitis A case at community event in Durham

Free clinic scheduled for those who may have been exposed at church supper on Sept. 28
Posted:  Monday, October 7, 2013 - 10:45pm

AUGUSTA — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a case of hepatitis A virus infection that has been traced to a community event in Durham. A person infected with HAV prepared and served food at the Durham Friends Meetinghouse on Saturday, Sept. 28. Approximately 100 people attended the church supper.

When administered within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A, vaccination is very effective in preventing illness. The end of the two-week window for effective treatment is this Saturday, Oct. 12. The Maine CDC is urging those who attended the event and anyone who ate food prepared at the event to attend a free hepatitis A vaccination clinic on Wednesday, Oct. 9. It will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Durham Eureka Community Center located at 605 Hallowell Road in Durham.

HAV is an illness caused by a virus which affects the liver. "It can be particularly severe in people who have chronic liver disease," said Dr. Sheila Pinette, Maine CDC Director, in a news release, "but the good news is that HAV is 100 percent preventable by vaccine."

Maine CDC staff went to the church on Sunday and has been working with church officials to conduct vigorous outreach to those who may have been exposed to the virus. HAV is most commonly spread through consumption of contaminated food and is not spread through casual contact. Some 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.

A healthcare provider can diagnose hepatitis A through a blood test. For more information, contact Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821 or your healthcare provider.