Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Frozen Scallops in Hawaii Sickens at Least 168

At least 168 have been sickened in the outbreak.

— -- A hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii has sickened at least 168 people, with at least 46 of them hospitalized, according to the Hawaii Department of Health.

Health officials found that the outbreak was likely linked to frozen scallops served raw at a chain of sushi restaurants, Genki Sushi.

The outbreak was first reported last month, and health officials announced the suspected cause on Tuesday.

“We are gratified to uncover this major piece of the investigation,” state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said in a statement. “Our investigation continues as we work to confirm our findings and ensure contaminated product is no longer in circulation and the risk of transmission is eliminated.”

The Hawaii Department of Health has ordered a halt to the sale and distribution of frozen scallops distributed by Koha Oriental Foods and True World Foods, two suppliers of the frozen scallops. The department also ordered the temporary closure of Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai until it can review their operation for safety.

“Genki Sushi in Hawaii has a history of good compliance with food safety regulations, which includes good employee hygiene,” said Peter Oshiro, the sanitation branch chief of the Hawaii Department of Health. “We will continue to work with Genki Sushi restaurants to ensure their safe operation after the investigation is completed.”

The chain’s headquarters in Hawaii did not immediately respond to ABC News’ calls seeking comment.

The health department is urging any people who consumed raw scallops at Genki Sushi in Oahu or Kauai to visit their health care provider to see if they should get a vaccine or immune globulin, which contains antibodies to help fight off infections.