VDH says Roanoke restaurant employee diagnosed with hepatitis A

The employee worked at three locations.
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 4:03 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia Department of Health is alerting the community to watch for symptoms of hepatitis A after a restaurant employee was diagnosed.

The Famous Anthony’s employee worked at three restaurants (4913 Grandin Road, 6499 Williamson Road, and Crystal Spring Avenue).

Anyone who is not vaccinated against hepatitis A and was at any of these locations between August 10 and 26 could have been exposed and should watch for the following symptoms:

· jaundice: yellowing of the skin or the eyes,

· fever,

· fatigue,

· loss of appetite,

· nausea,

· vomiting,

· abdominal pain,

· dark urine, or

· light-colored stools.

“If you develop any of these symptoms, please seek medical care and let your healthcare provider know of your possible exposure. It is also very important for people with symptoms to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service, health care or child care.”

The RCAHD is investigating ten cases of hepatitis A associated with this exposure, with each patient being hospitalized at some point. The leadership team at Famous Anthony’s has been assisting, and is fully cooperating with the investigation, according to VDH.

The last exposure case was attributed to August 26 at one of the restaurants. Incubation can last up to 50 days, meaning people could start to experience symptoms over the next couple of weeks.

The ages of patients range from 40s through 60s.

The Virginia Department of Health says it expects a further rise in the number of cases.

Hepatitis A vaccine is specifically recommended for children, for travelers to certain countries and for people at high risk for infection with the virus (intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men and persons with clotting factor disorders). The vaccine is available from health care providers, including pharmacies and travel clinics.

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. Anyone who is not currently vaccinated against Hepatitis A is encouraged to get the vaccine, which is currently available from many healthcare providers, health clinics and local pharmacies and is part of routine childhood vaccination series.

Exposure to hepatitis A virus may occur through direct contact with an infected person or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated. Symptoms may develop 15 to 50 days following exposure. People are at increased risk if they have been in close and continuous contact with an infected person, particularly in a household or day care setting.

Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Routine vaccination reduces the risk of this disease and is available to anyone. Virginia has experienced widespread outbreaks of hepatitis A across the Commonwealth, and vaccination is recommended for everyone.”

Further details surrounding hepatitis A can be found by visiting the VDH website.

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