Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. The incubation period (time of exposure to development of symptoms) is usually 2 to 7 weeks. Symptoms may include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, pale colored stools, and dark urine. Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes, may occur a few days after symptoms appear. Symptoms usually last one to two weeks but can last longer. Symptoms are more likely to occur in adults than in children. Severe complications are rare and occur more often in persons who have liver disease or a weakened immune system. Anyone with symptoms of Hepatitis A is encouraged to seek medical attention promptly.
Hepatitis A is spread person-to-person by the fecal-oral route and occurs when a person eats food or drinks a beverage contaminated by someone with the virus. Thorough hand washing after using the restroom, after changing diapers, and before touching or preparing food or drinks is the best way to control the spread of Hepatitis A.
The Vanderburgh County Health Department and the Indiana State Department of Health are investigating a case of Hepatitis A in a food worker at the Lone Star Restaurant located in the Eastland Place Shopping Center at 943 N. Green River Road Evansville IN, 47715-2418.
“We’ve been in contact with Lone Star and we wanted to let people know that they may have been exposed,” Dr. Ray Nicholson, Health Officer for the Health Department said.
Persons who were exposed and unvaccinated can receive a dose of Hepatitis A vaccine to help lessen the effects of the disease or prevent disease if given within 14 days of exposure. Persons who ate or drank at the Lone Star from April 20-April 26, 2012 could have been exposed to Hepatitis A, but should not receive vaccine because it is not effective for exposure past 14 days. Those people should seek medical care if they show symptoms of Hepatitis A.
Persons who ate at the Lone Star from April 27, 2012 to May 3, 2012 may also have been exposed to the Hepatitis A virus. The Vanderburgh County Health Department and Indiana State Department of Health are working to secure vaccine to offer to anyone who ate at the restaurant from April 27 to May 3, 2012. Information on immunization clinics will be released when the health department receives the vaccine. In the meantime, health officials say to remain on the alert.