HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An outbreak of Hepatitis A linked to raw scallops served at a popular sushi chain has now sickened 282 people, the state Health Department said Wednesday.
That's up by six people from last week.
Frozen scallops imported from the Philippines are confirmed as the source of the state's ongoing Hepatitis A outbreak, according to laboratory tests by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The scallops were distributed by Koha Foods to Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. All 10 of the Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and the only location on Kauai were closed and ordered to sanitize from top-to-bottom after the connection was made.
The Health Department said that all of the Hawaii Hepatitis A cases have been in adults, who fell ill from June 12 to Sept. 16.
Some 71 people have required hospitalization. All but 14 of those who have been sickened are Oahu residents. Ten are from the Neighbor Islands and four are visitors who have returned to the mainland.
This is by far the largest outbreak of Hepatitis A in the islands in decades.
The last outbreak of Hepatitis A in the United States happened in 2013, and was linked to frozen pomegranate seeds from Turkey. Some 162 cases nationally were linked to that outbreak; eight cases in Hawaii were reported, according to the CDC.
In 2014, the latest year for which data is available, there were about 2,500 cases of Hepatitis A in the United States, the CDC said.
Hepatitis A is usually spread via contaminated food or water. Two rounds of the Hepatitis A vaccine are needed for protection, but even the first shot starts increasing immunity after two weeks.
While the vaccine provides the best protection against Hepatitis A, frequent hand-washing and properly cooking food can help prevent the spread of the virus.
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