October 27, 2020

Cases of Hepatitis A Linked to Galatoire’s Restaurant in New Orleans

There are cases of hepatitis A linked to Galatoire’s restaurant in New Orleans, according to news reports. There was a “potential incident” in “early to mid-August,” according to a statement released by the restaurant to WWLTV.

Cases of Hepatitis A Linked to Galatoire's Restaurant in New Orleans

We do not know how many people are sick, the actual illness onset dates, or whether the source is contaminated food or ill employees. The restaurant passed inspection by the Louisiana Department of Health. All employees have since been vaccinated against the virus.

Hepatitis A is a contagious virus that is passed through contaminated food and beverages, through contact with surfaces, and through person-to-person contact. Since it is now the end of September, it’s too late for hepatitis A vaccinations for anyone who was at that facility in August. That vaccination is only effective if given within two weeks of exposure.

There is a hepatitis outbreak in Louisiana, with 1,244 cases statewide as of September 17, 2020. Cases have increased since 2016. These cases of hepatitis A linked to Galatoire’s restaurant may be a part of that outbreak.

Anyone who visited that restaurant in August should monitor themselves for the symptoms of hepatitis A, which can take 15 to 50 days to appear. Those symptoms include a fever, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort especially in the upper right quadrant, dark colored urine, clay-colored stools, diarrhea, and jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin and eyes. Unfortunately people are contagious two weeks before they start to show symptoms.

Most people recover without treatment, although some, especially people with liver disease, can become ill enough to require hospitalization. And some people can die.

The best way to prevent the spread of this virus is to get vaccinated. Anyone who has had the illness and recovered should be immune. In addition, everyone should stay home from work and school if they are sick, especially with a diarrheal illness. And everyone should be careful to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after going to the bathroom, before preparing and eating food, and after taking care of someone who is sick.

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