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New Jersey Starbucks employee tests positive for hepatitis A

The Camden County Health Department urged patrons to get vaccinated, offering free shots to those who frequented the Starbucks in the past two weeks.
A Starbucks employee was found to have worked while infectious in Gloucester Township, N.J.
A Starbucks employee was found to have worked while infectious in Gloucester Township, N.J.Google Maps

A New Jersey county's health department is urging patrons to get hepatitis A shots after a Starbucks employee was found to have worked while infectious.

A health care provider informed the Camden County Health Department about the incident in Gloucester Township on Wednesday, it said last week. The Starbucks facility was immediately closed, and an investigation found no evidence that food safety protocols were compromised.

Camden County Health Officer Paschal Nwako said in a statement Thursday that the department was working with the employee and the café chain to handle the situation.

“Our highest priority is ensuring everyone involved remains safe and healthy," Nwako said. "The patient is not currently working, and close contacts have been identified. We encourage anyone who may believe they were exposed to get vaccinated against hepatitis A by calling the county health department or your primary care physician.”

The Health Department offered free hepatitis A shots to patrons Friday and Saturday, it said. Hepatitis A is one of several hepatitis viruses, which can cause inflammation and affect liver function.

Most cases occur from ingesting contaminated food or water, according to the Mayo Clinic website. A person can also contract the virus from a close contact.

While many cases are mild, some people may need longer-term care, the Mayo Clinic says. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, low-grade fever and yellowing of the skin.

Starbucks said Sunday that the health and safety of its "partners" and the community are top priorities.

"We’re working closely with Camden County Health Department and are fully in compliance with all requirements," the company said. "There is no evidence that any customers or partners were affected."