Five Hills investigating Hepatitis A case

Moose Jaw Times Herald - Editorial Staff
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Virus may have spread at facility from June 1-22

Health officials are alerting the public about a potential health risk in Palliser Regional Park.

FHHR

The Cypress and Five Hills Health Regions want any individuals who visited the Mainstay Inn Motel and Restaurant – located near Riverhurst, Sask. – from June 1-22 to be aware that they may have contracted Hepatitis A.

The preliminary stages of the investigation began on Friday, but health officials did not have a chance to obtain any “concrete evidence” until Saturday.

“We know that there were contact points in the facility over those days,” Dr. David Torr, a consulting Medical Health Officer said in regard to the Hepatitis A.

Dr. Torr did not, however, state the age, sex or ties the individual with the virus had to the motel and restaurant during the 22-day stretch.

He explained that through a standard medical checkup, and the resulting lab test, health officials become aware of the possible health risk the individual posed to the location.

“We’ve been following up on this and part of the investigation is reviewing that there could be risk at this facility for people who attended between June 1-22, particularly if they had a meal at the restaurant,” said Dr. Torr.

Hepatitis A primarily spreads through contaminated food and water, but Dr. Torr added that it could also be transmitted by physical contact, such as a handshake.

He added that there is not a particular segment of the population that is more prone to acquiring Hepatitis A.

“It’s more of what you did to put you at risk,” said Dr. Torr. “Eating of food is more a risk that we are looking at right now.

“Anybody can potentially get Hepatitis A.”

Health officials are, however, recommending individuals at the Mainstay Inn from June 18-22 consider receiving a vaccine. It is the best way of protection against Hepatitis A infection and its complications, explained Dr. Torr.

The health regions will absorb the cost of a vaccine for each person who is potentially at risk and decides they want to receive it. According to Dr. Torr, the vaccine is only useful if given within two weeks of exposure.

“The risk was more from the 18th onwards that would qualify (people) for the vaccine,” he said.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A include nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, dark-coloured urine, light-coloured stools and jaundice. Children exposed to Hepatitis A may not develop any symptoms. 

Although the risk of becoming infected with Hepatitis A is low, it is a serious infection. 

As far as the Mainstay Inn is concerned, Dr. Torr said health officials do not deem there to be any further risk of contracting Hepatitis A.

“We’ve done an inspection and it’s quite safe to eat it,” he noted.

Individuals with questions are asked to call 1-888-425-111 and leave a message that includes your name, date of birth, hometown, contact information and when you visited the Mainstay Inn.

Visit www.fhhr.ca and follow the links to a fact sheet about Hepatitis A.

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks.

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