October 14, 2019

Possible Hepatitis A Exposure at Waffle House in Goose Creek, SC

A food worker at the Waffle House, located at 120 South Goose Creek Boulevard in Goose Creek, South Carolina was diagnosed with hepatitis A. Anyone who ate there between August 24 and September 13, 2019 may have been exposed. The restaurant is located in Berkeley County.

Possible Hepatitis A Exposure at Waffle House in Goose Creek, SC

This is not a foodborne illness outbreak; people infected with the hepatitis A virus are very contagious for two weeks before they even know they are sick. While the risk of contracting hepatitis A in these situations is low, it can happen. Waffle House is working with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to address this issue.

Unfortunately, anyone who ate there before September 4, 2019 is no longer eligible for the immune globulin or hepatitis A vaccine, since the shot is only effective if given within two weeks of exposure. All those people can do is monitor themselves for the symptoms of hepatitis A. However, if you are in the group that is beyond the two week window, a vaccine can protect you from future exposure.

Those symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, clay-colored stools, dark urine, pain in the abdomen, and yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice). If symptoms develop, see your doctor. People usually develop symptoms 15 to 50 days after exposure to the pathogenic virus.

Ask your doctor about the vaccine, or visit a pharmacist to obtain the shot. Restaurant patrons can also visit the Goose Creek Health Department, located at 106 Westview Drive in Goose Creek from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Thursday, September 19, 2019, and Friday, September 20, 2019. No appointment is necessary.

The best way to stop this infection is to get the vaccination. People can also wash their hands well with soap and water after using the bathroom, and stay home from work and school when ill.

There is a statewide hepatitis A outbreak in South Carolina, based on a “steady increase in the number of cases” from November 1, 2018 and the present. If you have questions about this issue, you can contact the DHEC Careline at 1-855-472-3432 Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

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