Officials Warn of Possible Hepatitis A Exposure at Panda Express in Lancaster

Officials Warn of Possible Hepatitis A Exposure at Panda Express in Lancaster
File photo of a Panda Express chain restaurant sign. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
City News Service

Health officials are working with a Panda Express in Lancaster to alert consumers of a possible hepatitis A exposure, officials said Aug. 12.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health identified hepatitis A virus infection in a food handler who worked at the location at 44411 Valley Central Way, according to the department.

No additional cases have been identified at this time.

The health department is recommending hepatitis A vaccination for patrons who consumed food or beverages from that Panda Express between July 31 and Aug. 4, with the exception of people who previously completed the hepatitis A vaccine series or are known to have a past infection.

Hepatitis A vaccinations might be available through local pharmacies or physicians’ offices. In addition, the county health department will be offering free hepatitis A vaccinations to exposed persons at Antelope Valley Health Center, 335 E. Ave. K, between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. on Monday, and between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is highly contagious and can be spread from person to person through the fecal-oral route—when contaminated feces from an infected person are somehow ingested by another person during close personal contact—or by eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Most adults with acute hepatitis A will have symptoms that may include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark-colored urine, and jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin or eyes. Symptoms vary from mild to severe.

While prompt vaccination is likely to prevent infection, infection may occur in those who receive vaccination too late.