The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is continuing its investigation of an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak on the island of Oahu, and today confirmed a new case in a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant.
The flight attendant served inflight food and beverages to passengers on the following flights:
- July 31, 2016 — Flight HA22 from Honolulu, HI (HNL) to Seattle, WA (SEA)
- August 1, 2016 – Flight HA21 from Seattle, WA (SEA) to Honolulu, HI (HNL)
- August 10, 2016 – Flight HA18 from Honolulu, HI (HNL) to Las Vegas, NV (LAS)
- August 12, 2016 – Flight HA17 from Las Vegas, NV (LAS) to Honolulu, HI (HNL)
The public is being alerted only as a precaution; the risk of transmission is extremely low and Hawaiian Airlines is not the source of the ongoing outbreak. DOH has identified imported frozen scallops as the likely source and embargoed the product statewide on August 15, 2016. Subsequent laboratory testing by the Food and Drug Administration has confirmed the presence of hepatitis A in the scallops.
“This case is a reminder that hepatitis A symptoms can appear up to 50 days after exposure,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “This is why we expect to continue to see cases in coming weeks, and why we need to remain vigilant to prevent further transmission, even though the product has been pulled off the market.”
As of August 17, 2016, DOH has confirmed a total of 206 cases of hepatitis A as part of this outbreak investigation. Updated case counts and information are provided each Wednesday along with a complete list of food service establishments who have had employees diagnosed with hepatitis A infection at the following link: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/.
Vaccination provides the best protection from hepatitis A, so any individuals who may have been exposed to the disease are recommended to contact their healthcare providers about receiving a vaccine or immune globulin (IG). This may provide some protection against the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure. A statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies can be found at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf, or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.
Hawaiian Airlines customers may go to www.hawaiianairlines.com/hepatitisA for detailed information on the affected flights and other support available.