Iowa Restaurant Patrons Warned Of Possible Hepatitis A Exposure

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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A food service worker at Whitey's Bar and Billiards in Burlington has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A, a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus that can be spread to others in food and drinks. Those who may have been exposed to Hepatitis A at this business include any individuals who consumed:

* Any drinks containing ice or a lemon slice

* Any items from the salad bar

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All patrons who have been exposed need to receive a Hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin immediately. Although the vaccine and immune globulin reduce the risk of contracting Hepatitis A after exposure, some people may still become ill.

Therefore, all patrons need to see their health care provider right away if they develop symptoms of Hepatitis A. Symptoms may include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, diarrhea, dark urine and jaundice (the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). Immediate diagnosis of Hepatitis A allows family and friends to be given the vaccine or immune globulin quickly to reduce their risk of disease. All those exposed to Hepatitis A, regardless of receiving a vaccination or immune globulin, need to wash their hands every time they use the restroom and before touching anyone else's food.

Patrons who ate or drank the affected items from June 25 through July 1 are also at risk, although it is too late for them to receive the vaccine or immune globulin. They should also be aware of the symptoms of Hepatitis A.

While some people, especially small children, may experience very mild or no symptoms, some people who contract Hepatitis A become ill enough to be in bed for weeks, or even hospitalized. Des Moines County Health Director Barb Baker says preventing the spread of the disease is critical. "There is no treatment for Hepatitis A," said Baker. "That's why vaccination is so important."

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