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Hepatitis A confirmed in Taco Bell worker in Everett, Lake Stevens

The Daily Herald - 5/26/2023

EVERETT — Hepatitis A was confirmed in a Taco Bell employee who worked at locations in Everett and Lake Stevens, according to the Snohomish County Health Department.

Health officials cautioned anyone who ate food from the Taco Bell on 2727 Broadway in Everett or 303 91st Avenue NE in Lake Stevens from May 22 to 23 to check if they are vaccinated or immune to hepatitis A.

The employee appeared to have contracted the virus through international travel, the health department said.

The Taco Bell locations were not shut down, according to the health department. No other cases had been identified and the businesses were working on "prevention response measures," health department spokesperson Kari Bray said.

"There is no imminent health threat required to close the business," Bray said.

Public notices about the hepatitis A exposure have been posted outside the entrances and drive-thrus of the fast food restaurants.

People who are not vaccinated or immune to hepatitis A should contact their health care provider or the Snohomish County Health Department, authorities said.

It takes 15 to 50 days to become symptomatic after being exposed to hepatitis A, according to the health department.

Some symptoms include:

• Fever

• Fatigue

• Loss of appetite

• Nausea

• Vomiting

• Diarrhea

• Dark urine and jaundice

Hepatitis A is not spread through the air. The spread is common through food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person. The virus may be spread through close contact or food handling. It can be a mild or severe illness, lasting from a few weeks to several months. Even mildly ill people can be highly infectious.

In 2019, a Lynnwood teriyaki restaurant was closed down for two days by the health district after a worker tested positive for hepatitis A.

Jonathan Tall: 425-339-3486;; Twitter: @EDHJonTall.