August 19, 2019

Hepatitis A Exposure at J Mart Diner in Redfield, Arkansas

A possible hepatitis A exposure has occurred at the J Mart Diner in Redfield, Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. An employee who worked there from July 17 through August 2, 2019 tested positive for the virus. That restaurant is located at 1101 Sheridan Road.

Hepatitis A Exposure at J Mart Diner in Redfield, Arkansas

Officials say that anyone who ate there on those days should get a hepatitis A vaccination immediately. Unfortunately, this vaccination is only effective if given within two weeks of exposure. So any customer who was at the J Mart Diner before July 26, 2019 can only monitor themselves for symptoms of the illness.

The Arkansas Department of Health will host vaccine clinics in Grant and Jefferson counties on Friday, August 9, 2019. The vaccines will be available from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm at the Grant County Local Health Unit at 700 East Center in Sheridan, and at the Jefferson County Local Health Unit at 2306 Rike Drive in Pine Bluff. There will be no charge. If you have an insurance card and driver’s license, bring them with you.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, clay colored bowel movements, dark urine, joint pain, and jaundice. These symptoms usually start 15 to 50 days after exposure to the hepatitis A virus. People can be only mildly ill for a few weeks, or seriously ill for months. If you do develop these symptoms, see your doctor.

Since February 2018, there have been 393 cases of hepatitis A diagnosed in Arkansas. Three people have died. And half of the patients in this outbreak have been hospitalized. Most of the cases have been in Greene and Craighead counties.

One of the problems with this virus is that people are contagious for two weeks before they feel sick. And some people have no symptoms. The best way to prevent the spread of this illness is to get vaccinated. Thorough handwashing can also help, as can staying home when you are sick.

 

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