Hepatitis Scare at Dunkin' Donuts Causes Officials to Recommend Customers Get Treated

A worker at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Ocean City, New Jersey had hepatitis A and was contagious when serving food at the chain last month, the New Jersey Department of Public Health confirmed in a statement Wednesday.

While the risk that any customers were infected is low, local officials are still recommending that anyone who ate or drank products from the location at 962 West Ave between Sunday, Jan. 27 and Thursday, Jan. 31 receive a “post-exposure prophylaxis” — unless they’ve already been vaccinated against the disease. The treatment, also known as PEP, is a combination of the hep A vaccine and immune globulin, which includes antibodies to boost a patient’s system, according to WebMD.

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The press release states that the infected employee and all others who were affected have been treated and have safely returned to work. Officials say the restaurant is safe to reopen.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease, according to the statement, and ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. It’s often spread when a person consumes even a microscopic amount of fecal matter from an infected person, who spreads it through touch, the release explains.

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Common symptoms of hep A, which appear anywhere between two and seven weeks after infection, include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, pain in your abdomen, dark urine, join pain or jaundice.

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