The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) says that customers who ate at two Hardee’s restaurants in Spartanburg County may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus. One location is at 12209 Greenville Highway in Lyman. Anyone who ate there between August 31 and September 15, 2015 is at risk. The other location is at 137 East Main Street in Duncan. Anyone who ate there between September 1 and September 13, 2015 is at risk.
An employee who works at the Lyman restaurant was diagnosed with hepatitis A on September 17. A “close contact” of that person who works at the Duncan restaurant also was diagnosed with the illness. Anyone who ate or drank at those two locations in the time periods above could have been exposed to the virus.
Dr. Anna-Kathryn Rye, medical consultant to DHEC’s Bureau of Disease Control said in a statement, “Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a virus. People usually become sick within two to six weeks after being exposed to the virus, so it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible to prevent the virus from developing into a hepatitis A infection.”
A hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccination is effective only if given with two weeks of exposure. Anyone who ate at those two restaurants before September 4, 2015 can no longer receive treatment. They must monitor themselves for the symptoms of hepatitis A and see their doctor if they become sick.
The symptoms of hepatitis A include nausea, fever, diarrhea, tiredness, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, vomiting, jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), clay-colored stools, or dark colored urine. The symptoms can appear 15 to 50 days after exposure. People are contagious in the middle of the incubation period, before any symptoms appear. After jaundice appears, people are usually contagious for a week.
Post-exposure treatment will be available at the DHEC’s Spartanburg County Health Department at 151 E. Wood Street or the Greenville County Health Department at 200 University Ridge on Saturday, September 19 or Sunday, September 20, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Treatment will also be offered on Monday, September 21, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For questions, call DHEC at 1-800-868-0404. Operators are available Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, September 19, 20, and 21 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.