January 16, 2018

Hepatitis A Exposure at Whataburger in Austin, Texas

An employee at Whataburger in Austin, Texas who handles food has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department. The restaurant is located at 2800 Guadalupe Street in Austin. If you or anyone you know ate there between August 7 through August 19, 2014 you may have been exposed to the virus.

Hepatitis A virusTransmission of infection is not likely, but health officials are recommending that anyone who is over the age of 75, who is immune compromised, with chronic liver disease, had a liver transplant, has clotting-factor disorders, or anyone experiencing the symptoms of hepatitis A contact their doctor. You can also call the Austin/Travis County health and Human Services Department at 512-972-4372 with any questions or concerns.

If you do not fall into these risk categories, if you are concerned you can contact your healthcare provider or call the Department. Signs and symptoms of a hepatitis A infection include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, and jaundice. They usually appear 2 to 4 weeks after exposure, but may occur as long as 7 weeks after exposure.

If you have not had hepatitis A in the past or have not been vaccinated against the virus, you can be protected against the illness if you get a hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccination within two weeks of exposure. If you ate at that restaurant on August 7, 2014, it’s too late. But if you ate there August 8 through August 17, 2014, you can get protection with the shot.

Public health officials also remind people that they should practice thorough hand washing after using the toilet or diapering a child, and before food preparation. And people should not work in food preparation or food handling while they are sick.

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