February 19, 2020

Hepatitis A Diagnosed in Food Worker at Huddle House in Dexter, Missouri

A food handler who worked at the Huddle House in Dexter, Missouri has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. The restaurant is investigating along with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and Stoddard County Health Center.

Hepatitis A

Anyone who ate at that restaurant between November 21 and December 2, 2017 may have been exposed to the virus. It is too late to get a hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccination, since that shot is only effective if given within two weeks of exposure. All you can do is watch for symptoms of the illness and see your doctor if you do get sick.

The symptoms of hepatitis A can include fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, clay-colored stools, joint pain, abdominal pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin). These symptoms usually begin two to seven weeks after exposure.

There are several hepatitis A outbreaks in the United States at this time, and the vaccines are becoming limited. The notice from the Missouri government states, “use of these prevention strategies must be restricted to those at highest risk for illness or complications, such as close personal contacts.”

Hepatitis A affects the liver. Most people who get this illness recover completely with no lasting liver damage. However, people with liver disease can go into liver failure.

The best way to prevent this illness is to get vaccinated. Good hand washing practices can also prevent the spread of the virus. Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, taking care of someone else who is sick, especially with a diarrheal illness, and after chaining diapers.

Since a person who has the virus is contagious two weeks before symptoms appear, the illness is easily spread. If you work with the public consider getting the vaccine. It is highly effective when properly administrated.

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