HONOLULU - State health officials confirmed on Tuesday two new cases of hepatitis A for a food service employee at the Chili's restaurant in Kapolei and a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant.

Although it is not a food service establishment, Hawaiian Airlines has been named because the infected crew member served in-flight food and beverages to passengers. Hawaiian Airlines customers may go to www.hawaiianairlines.com/hepatitisA for detailed information on affected flights and other support available.

“At this time, no infections have been linked to exposure at these businesses and they are not sources of the outbreak,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “We are alerting the public only as a precaution; the risk of transmission is extremely low and these businesses are working with us to help prevent potentially new cases in our community.”

“The most infectious period for this disease may be as much as two weeks before the onset of symptoms — before the individual even knows he or she is sick,” Park added. “The public’s health is our main concern, and we feel it is important to equip people with this information so they may work with their healthcare providers to protect their health.”

Persons who consumed food or beverage products from these businesses during the identified periods may have been exposed to the disease and are recommended to:

  1. Contact their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (IG), which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure.
  2. Monitor their health for symptoms of hepatitis A infection up to 50 days after exposure.
  3. Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
  4. Stay at home and contact their healthcare provider immediately if symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop.

To help prevent the spread of disease during the investigation, the public is encouraged to talk to their healthcare providers about vaccination. A statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies is available 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 211.

Chili's Grill & Bar released the following statement:

With several individuals in the community diagnosed with hepatitis A, the health and safety of our guests and team members continues to be our top priority. After learning one of our team members was affected, we immediately excluded this team member from work and partnered with the Hawaii State Department of Health. While there have been no infections linked to Chili’s, we will continue to maintain our strict standards of cleanliness to ensure we are operating a clean and safe restaurant for the wellbeing of our guests and team members.

Hawaiian Airlines released the following statement:

It was confirmed today by the State of Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) and Hawaiian Airlines that one of the company’s inflight crewmembers has tested positive for Hepatitis A. Hawaiian has isolated the flights taken by this individual to be between July 1 and July 26, primarily on Neighbor Island and North America routes.

While the risk of transmission is extremely low, we are taking necessary precautions for the health of our customers and our employees. Below is a list of the flights on which this crewmember worked during that period. Guests on those flights should consult a health care professional on whether screening is advisable. If a guest on these flights determines, in consultation with a medical provider, that screening and/or vaccination are needed, Hawaiian Airlines will reimburse reasonable out-of-pocket expenses upon submission of documentation.

If you were not on one of the flights listed below, no action is necessary. We have had no other reported cases among staff and are proactively screening all crew who worked with this crewmember before they return to duty.

Other food establishments with hepatitis A confirmations are as follows: Waikele Baskin-Robbins, Waipio Taco Bell, Sushi Shiono Waikoloa and the Hawaii Kai Costco bakery.

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