Confirmed case of hepatitis A at Taylor Kroger; no risk to public: officials

Investigators are working to get to the bottom of a confirmed case of hepatitis A at Kroger in Taylor.

A spokeswoman for the grocer tells FOX 2 that either a customer or worker contracted the disease but it's unclear when.

Disturbing news for shoppers like Jenny Pierson, even though officials say at this point there's no sign the public is at risk.

"It's kind of terrifying," said parent Jenny Pierson. "I have four boys at home."

The hepatitis A outbreak hit southeast Michigan hard. There have been nearly 700 cases. 

More than 550 people have been hospitalized and 22 have died.

"This is a vaccine-preventable disease and get vaccinated (if you are in) a high-risk group or after talking with your physician," Carol Austerberry.

Austerberry is the deputy health officer for Wayne County.

FOX 2: "How would people know if they've contracted hepatitis A?"

"A big sign is jaundice a lot of times you'll see a little bit of yellowing of the eyes," she said. "But fever, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, stomach cramps."

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease it's most often transmitted by eating food or drinking beverages handled by someone who has not properly washed their hands.

Children, the elderly and people with weak livers or immune systems are more susceptible to the hepatitis A than others, as are drug users and gay men.

"Be aware of the outbreak," Austerberry said. "Have good handwashing practices, if you think you have symptoms certainly contact your medical care provider, your physician, talk to them about it."

"We take extra precautions by getting vaccinated - children included," Pierson said. "They have seen their pediatrician everything.

Kroger is aware of the situation and is cooperating with the Wayne County Health Department and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.