Officials warn of potential hepatitis A exposure at Lancaster Panda Express

Health officials are working with a Panda Express in Lancaster to alert consumers of a possible hepatitis A exposure, officials said Saturday.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health identified hepatitis A virus infection in a food handler who worked at the location at 44411 Valley Central Way, according to the department.

No additional cases have been identified at this time.

The health department is recommending hepatitis A vaccination for patrons who consumed food or beverages from that Panda Express between July 21 and Aug. 4, with the exception of people who previously completed the hepatitis A vaccine series or are known to have a past infection.

SUGGESTED: Study finds strawberries could boost your brain power, lower blood pressure

Hepatitis A vaccinations might be available through local pharmacies or physicians' offices. In addition, the county health department will be offering free hepatitis A vaccinations to exposed persons at Antelope Valley Health Center, 335 E. Ave. K, between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. on Monday, and between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is highly contagious and can be spread from person-to-person through the fecal-oral route (when contaminated feces from an infected person are somehow ingested by another person during close personal contact), or by eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Most adults with acute hepatitis A will have symptoms that may include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark-colored urine and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Symptoms vary from mild to severe.

While prompt vaccination is likely to prevent infection, infection may occur in those who receive vaccination too late.