Kentucky’s HepA Outbreak Now Includes Chocolate Candies

Consumers who ate Bauer’s candies purchased after November 14, 2018, should consult with a healthcare professional regarding Hepatitis A vaccines

chocolate candy

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a consumer alert regarding the possible hepatitis A contamination of Bauer’s Candies Modjeskas. 

The FDA is advising consumers not to eat but to throw away any Bauer’s Candies Chocolate or Caramel Modjeskas, purchased after November 14, 2018, because a worker in the production facility tested positive for the hepatitis A virus (HAV). 

Hepatitis A can spread when an infected person prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene, even before that person shows symptoms of illness, says the FDA. 

As of December 6, 2018, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are not aware of any cases of hepatitis A related to the consumption of these Bauer’s candies. 

Although the risk of hepatitis A transmission from the candy is low, the FDA recommends that consumers who ate candies purchased after November 14, 2018, and have not been vaccinated for hepatitis A, consult with their healthcare professional to determine whether post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is indicated.

PEP may be recommended for unvaccinated people who have been exposed to hepatitis A virus in the last 2 weeks. 

Anyone with evidence of previous hepatitis A vaccination does not require PEP. 

These candy products are available at retail locations and can also be purchased through QVC and BauersCandy.com. 

Bauer’s Candies is located in Lawrenceburg, KY, west of Lexington.   

Previously, on December 4, 2018, the Clark County Kentucky Health Department said it was investigating a food service worker at the Applebee in Winchester, KY, involving a diagnosis of Hepatitis A virus on November 30, 2018.     

‘Customers who ate at the Applebee restaurant between November 14-25, 2018 are advised to get a hepatitis A vaccination', said health officials in a press release. 

Hepatitis A virus is a communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus and is a nonenveloped RNA virus, classified as a picornavirus. 

The Hepatitis A virus can have a long incubation period and can have serious health consequences for some people, especially those with other health problems. When symptoms occur, they can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months, says the CDC. 

According to news reports on January 6, 2019, the nationwide HAV outbreak has continued into 2019. 

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During 2018, several ‘heartland’ states reported hepatitis A cases by restaurant staff. 

According to the CDC, as of December 15, 2018, there were 10,582 confirmed hepatitis A cases in the USA. 

The CDC says there are 2 brands of hepatitis A vaccine available, which are interchangeable. 

Two monovalent hepatitis A vaccines, Vaqta and Havrix, are approved for people older than 1 year of age in a 2-dose series. 

And, Twinrix is a combined hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine approved for people older than 18 years of age in the USA.

If you miss the 6-month timeline, you do not need to start the vaccination series over again, says the CDC. And, getting an extra dose of the hepatitis A vaccine is not harmful. 

In the USA, the most frequently identified risk factor for HAV is international travel, says the CDC. 

Travel-related hepatitis A can occur in travelers who visit developing countries. 

The CDC publishes a list of countries where hepatitis A is high-risk. 

To request a travel vaccination counseling appointment at a local pharmacy, please visit Vax-Before-Travel. 

The CDC Vaccine Price List displays current hepatitis vaccine contract prices and general information. 

And, hepatitis vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.