‘Exposure Is Probably In The Thousands’: Starbucks Employee Tests Positive For Hepatitis A, Triggers Mass Vaccination Effort

[Not the Starbucks location from the story]Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Taylor Giles Contributor
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A New Jersey Starbucks employee tested positive Wednesday for hepatitis A and was allegedly working during the infectious period.

The local health department is encouraging everyone who went to the Starbucks location and was exposed to get a hepatitis A vaccine, according to a Camden County news release.

The health department’s food surveillance unit went to the location and conducted an inspection of the store, which ultimately showed no violations, according to Camden County.

“Starbucks says that the location is busy, as most are,” Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen said, according to CNN. “They’re saying they have an average of 600 patrons a day and some are return patrons maybe going multiple times a day … but the exposure is probably in the thousands.” (RELATED: Hepatitis Smoothies Infect 85 In Virginia, Outbreaks In Other States)

Roughly 800 doses of the vaccine have been administered so far, CNN reported. As of Sunday, nobody who went to the Starbucks location has tested positive for hepatitis A.

The county has also had issues with gathering doses of the hepatitis A vaccine, reported CNN.

“We had our public health department employees driving all over the state, in some cases hundreds of miles, picking up vaccines across the state,” Keashen said, CNN reported. “There’s not a lot of hepatitis A vaccine doses available in New Jersey.”

Another pop-up vaccination clinic with roughly 500 doses of the hepatitis A vaccine is scheduled for Wednesday.

“The Department of Health recommends those who have visited the Starbucks … to have a hepatitis A vaccine and/or immune globulin that can reduce the risk of acquiring the disease. Individuals should receive the vaccine as soon as possible but no later than 14 days after contact,” the county’s news release reads.

Starbucks told the Daily Caller the store was immediately closed when Starbucks learned of the diagnosis. The store has since been authorized to reopen by the county health department.