People who ate raw tuna products from several supermarkets and restaurants on the island of Oahu, Hawaii between April 27 and May 1 may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says in a recall notice for raw frozen tuna.
The FDA’s announcement of the recall and potential hepatitis A exposure come less than a year after Hawaii struggled to identify the source of and contain the state’s largest-ever hepatitis A outbreak, which was eventually linked to contaminated frozen scallops from the Philippines used in sushi.
The current recall includes frozen tuna imported from Indonesia. The fish was used to prepare poke, a fish salad dish consisting of raw cubed tuna, onions, sesame seeds, and various seasonings. The tuna was also used to prepare food served or sold by GP Hawaiian Food Catering, the Crab Shack Kapolei, Aloha Sushi, and one ABC store.
Hawaii residents and visitors who think they may have eaten the tuna at one of these locations should be screened by a doctor for signs of infection. Hepatitis A has a long incubation period, so potentially exposed individuals should be vaccinated for the virus within two weeks after potential exposure.
“Because it generally takes two weeks for those infected to develop symptoms of hepatitis A, vaccination or immune globulin can still provide some protection against the disease for those who may have been exposed in the last week,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.
Symptoms of hepatitis A infection usually appear two to six weeks after exposure and include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes. Anyone infected with hepatitis A, especially food service employees, should stay home to help prevent the highly contagious virus from spreading further.
“Times Supermarket and Tropic Fish notified the department as soon as they learned of the test results on the imported fish,” said Peter Oshiro, chief of the Hawaii Department of Health’s Food Safety Program. “All of the product is being traced, collected and held by the distributor. Fortunately, in this case, Tropic Fish Hawaii kept excellent records and has been contacting all retailers and pulling the product quickly.”