According to state officials, one person has died in a hepatitis A outbreak linked to three restaurants in the Roanoke, VA, area, and two more people have been added to the patient list.”We don’t believe there is a continuing threat to the public,” Christ Wills of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, a subagency of the Virginia Department of Health, said.
Wills, however, told Food Safety News today that due to the virus’s long incubation period, there will most likely be more sick people than the 37 who have been identified. As of today, 26 of the patients had become so ill that they needed to be hospitalised. The age range of patients is now trending toward younger patients, with people ranging in age from 31 to 79 years old infected.
During a press conference today, Cynthia Morrow, MD, director of the local health district, stated that the agency is currently investigating additional cases that could be added to the total, but the symptoms of those patients are not severe. Some of the patients who required hospitalisation have been discharged, but others remain in hospitals, according to her.Wills stated that she does not know whether the restaurant employee who was identified as the virus’s carrier has recovered, and Morrow refused to release any information about that employee.
While infected with the liver virus, the employee worked at three Famous Anthony’s restaurant locations. Wills stated that the restaurants were closed for a day following the discovery of the infection trend.Wills explained, “We offered a vaccination clinic for other employees.” “We also provide free vaccinations to the general public at our office (in Roanoke).”Wills said the outbreak is only now reaching the 50-day mark, which is traditionally thought to be the incubation period for the hepatitis A virus.
Wills, however, stated that this is a general benchmark and that more people who are just starting to develop symptoms will likely seek treatment and be added to the patient list.She stated that the Famous Anthony’s restaurant chain is a well-respected family-owned chain with no history of problems. She stated that the agency is still monitoring the situation, but that there is little that public health workers can do at this time except wait for more patients to be identified.
“Hepatitis A virus typically causes self-limited inflammation of the liver, but in this outbreak, we have seen a high rate of severe disease,” said Cynthia Morrow, MD, MPH, director of the local health district.The agency continues to advise the public to monitor themselves for symptoms if they ate at any of the restaurants involved in the outbreak. Anyone who visited any of the following Famous Anthony’s locations between Aug. 10 and Aug. 27 — 4913 Grandin Road, 6499 Williamson Road, or 2221 Crystal Spring Ave. — is urged to seek medical attention if they develop any of the following symptoms:Jaundice is characterised by yellowing of the skin or eyes, as well as fever and fatigue.
Appetite lossabdominal pain, nausea, and vomitinglight-colored stools and dark urineAccording to a public health department alert, “it is also very important for people with symptoms to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service, health care, or childcare.”
“Hepatitis A is a preventable disease that can be prevented with a vaccine.” The hepatitis A vaccine is specifically recommended for children, travellers to certain countries, and people at high risk of infection with the virus; however, due to multi-year widespread outbreaks of hepatitis A in Virginia, vaccination is recommended for everyone.”Anyone who has not been immunised against hepatitis A is encouraged to get it, which is currently available from many healthcare providers and local pharmacies.” 1502 Williamson Road is the address of the Roanoke City Health Department.”
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