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An Employee of This Mega Coffee Chain May Have Exposed Thousands To Hepatitis A

Health authorities are asking customers to get vaccinated against the virus.

A Starbucks location in New Jersey was shut down last week by health authorities after it came to light that an employee handling food had tested positive to Hepatitis A, potentially exposing thousands of customers to the virus.

According to CNN, the employee worked at the Gloucester Township location of the coffee chain on November 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, and 13, and anyone that visited the store at 1490 Blackwood Clementon Road on those days may have been exposed. Health authorities have advised customers who aren't vaccinated against the virus to get inoculated "as soon as possible but no later than 14 days after contact."

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The Camden County Health Department said they were working with the patient and the staff of the Starbucks location to address the exposure. "Our highest priority is ensuring everyone involved remains safe and healthy. 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 department said in a press release.

No one else has tested positive for the virus so far, including other employees of the location.

County spokesperson Dan Keashen said the number of customers exposed at the location is likely in the thousands. "Starbucks says that that location is busy, as most are," he noted. "They're saying they have an average of 600 patrons a day and some are return patrons maybe going multiple times a day."

The incident drew a large number of residents to seek the Hepatitis A vaccination. As many as 800 shots have been administered at designated pop-up clinics near the Starbucks this weekend. This marks the largest vaccination effort against the virus in New Jersey's history.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious infection of the liver that can be transmitted through close contact as well as the consumption of contaminated food and beverage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms of the infection include fever, nausea, and vomiting, and can take between two to six weeks to develop.

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Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more