State officials say some customers of an Eastport grocery store may have been exposed to hepatitis A from an employee who had the infection.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the worker at the R&M IGA on Washington Street handled food while infectious on various dates from May 3-20 and some store patrons may be at risk for contracting hepatitis A infection. Any deli items purchased from the store during that period should either be thrown out or cooked thoroughly, state officials said.

Anyone who may have eaten food prepared in the deli from May 13-22 should get vaccinated against the disease, the CDC said. The vaccine is effective against the infection for 14 days after exposure, the state officials said.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can be spread through a virus carried by contaminated food and water, especially food prepared by an infected person.

Symptoms, which appear 15 to 50 days after exposure, can range from a mild illness to a severe sickness that can require hospitalization and last for several months. Most adults who contract the illness have a sudden onset of symptoms such as tiredness, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine and jaundice. Most children younger than six don’t have symptoms.

Those infected can spread hepatitis A for a period beginning about two weeks before symptoms appear to a week after symptoms end.

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