The Vanderburgh County Health Dept. is urging diners who ate at Lone Star Steakhouse during the days an employee infected with Hepatitis A worked to receive a free vaccination.
Vaccines will be administered at the department’s immunization clinic at 420 Mulberry St. every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Thursday.
Dr. Ray Nicholson, the department’s health officer, estimates that out of the nearly 1,500 patrons who dined at the Eastland Place restaurant from April 29 to May 3, around 500 have been immunized. The employee, a bartender, handled mostly drinks and some food.
Persons exposed to the virus have a window of 14 days for the vaccine to be considered effective. The health department states that customers who ate or drank at Lone Star between April 20-30 could also have contracted hepatitis A but shouldn’t bother with the vaccine.
Victims can carry the virus for five days without showing symptoms and be infectious to others. Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes, can show up several days after symptoms first appear.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that in some cases can cause death, but that happens usually when there is an existing medical complication. An average, healthy person does not typically die from Hepatitis A. It is far less damaging than Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, which are far more likely to result in liver failure. The Hepatitis A virus is found on the feces of those infected and carry mostly by hands through close, personal contact.