• Investigations revealed "no evidence of food safety violations"
  • The store was closed until all employees were vaccinated
  • Exposed customers are advised to get vaccinated "no later than 14 days after contact"

Customers at a "busy" Starbucks store in New Jersey may have been exposed to Hepatitis from a worker who tested positive for hepatitis A.

The Camden County Health Department learned on Nov. 17 that a food handler at the Starbucks in 1490 Blackwood Clementon Road in Gloucester Township tested positive for hepatitis A, it noted in a news release. Immediate investigations revealed "no evidence of food safety violations" but authorities had the location shut down until all of the employees were vaccinated.

Specifically, the employee worked through the infectious period at the location on Nov. 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13, so anyone who may have visited the location on those dates are being advised to get vaccinated for Hepatitis A "no later than 14 days after the contact."

County spokesman Dan Keashen told CNN that the location is a "busy" one that gets an average of 600 customers daily, with some even going several times in a day. It's possible then that "thousands" may have been exposed to the infection.

As the Camden County Health Department explained, hepatitis A is usually contracted when a person unknowingly ingests fecal matter "even in microscopic amounts" via contaminated food, drinks or objects. The disease can range from mild to severe and may last from weeks to several months.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting the hepatitis A vaccine is the "best way" to prevent it. However, those who have already gotten a previous hepatitis A vaccine don't need to get another dose, the county health department noted in a follow-up news release.

So far, some 800 vaccines have already been administered, Keashen said, calling it the "largest hepatitis A vaccine effort" in the history of the state.

"The county health department has been working closely with the patient and the staff at the Starbucks to address the situation," Paschal Nwako, health officer at the Camden County, said in the news release. "Our highest priority is ensuring everyone involved remains safe and healthy."

The employee who tested positive for the virus is already in recovery, Keashen said, adding that so far, no one else has tested positive for the virus from the possible exposure.

Patrons of the Starbucks location who have questions about hepatitis A or the vaccine may contact the Camden County Health Department at (856) 549-0530.

A Starbucks logo is pictured here. AFP / LOIC VENANCE