Detroit Health Department: Hepatitis A linked to Whole Foods in Midtown

Whole Foods in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.
Whole Foods in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

The Detroit Health Department is investigating two cases of Hepatitis A that appear to be linked to the prepared foods section at Whole Foods in Midtown.

An employee who handles prepared food was diagnosed with Hepatitis A, a viral liver infection that is highly contagious. The second case involves a Detroit resident who ate food from the prepared food section.

The health department said it’s not yet clear how either case was contracted, but recommended that anyone who ate prepared food from Whole Foods should consult a physician.

“Given the theoretical risk that the second case may have contracted the disease from the food handler, the Detroit Health Department is recommending that anyone who may have consumed prepared foods at Whole Foods Detroit between October 6th and October 12th speak to a physician and seek preventive treatment,” the health department said in a press release. “The recommended preventive treatment is a vaccine that is given once and helps to prevent people who have been exposed to Hepatitis A from developing the disease.”

The Detroit Health Department is offering evaluations at both of its clinics – the Samaritan Center (5555 Conner Street) and The Family Place (8726 Woodward Avenue).

“While it remains unclear exactly how either of these individuals contracted Hepatitis A, and we know that Whole Foods Market Detroit has a comprehensive food safety protocol, we want to do our best to protect our residents and those of surrounding communities who may have been exposed. Whole Foods has been nothing but cooperative throughout this process.” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, executive director and health officer at the Detroit Health Department.

Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal, yellow eyes and skin and dark urine.

The health department has “evaluated and provided preventive treatment to the staff at Whole Foods, and continues to monitor for any additional cases.”

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.