For the second time in as many weeks, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) is warning the public about possible exposure to the Hepatitis A virus.
SCDHEC was notified on May 29, 2019, that “an employee of the restaurant tested positive for hepatitis A.” Customers who dined at the restaurant between May 14 and May 28 are at risk, the agency warned.
“The concern here is not the restaurant,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell. “It is with a food handler who has hepatitis A infection. As a precaution, in these situations, vaccination should be considered for individuals who were exposed during the time the food handler was contagious.”
Earlier this month, SCDHEC declared a Hepatitis A outbreak in the Palmetto State, with most of the cases originating in Aiken County, S.C.
According to the agency, South Carolina averages 19 hepatitis A cases annually. As of this writing, however, there have been 106 reported cases leading to dozens of hospitalizations (and one death) over the past six months.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection – one of several that causes inflammation “affecting your liver’s ability to function.” It is caused by a virus typically transmitted through person-to-person contact with someone who has the infection – or through eating or drinking food or water contaminated by an infected person.
Which brings us back to Teriyaki Japan …
According to health officials, customers and staff who ate at the restaurant on May 14 and May 15 “are not likely to benefit from post-exposure treatment.” Anyone who ate at the restaurant on those dates was warned to “watch for symptoms of infection, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, belly pain or yellowing of the eyes and skin.”
Patrons of the restaurant with concerns or questions are urged to call SCDHEC’s “Careline” at 1-855-4SC-DHEC (1-855-472-3432). Staff will be available at that number between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. EDT Monday through Friday to answer your questions.
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