Health department getting questions about Hepatitis A

public-healthAfter reports about a hepatitis A exposure at a restaurant in Springfield, Missouri this month, local health officials say they’re getting lots of questions about the disease and the hepatitis A vaccine.

The health department says local public health agencies have already given vaccinations to metro residents who ate at the Red Robin in Springfield between May 8 and May 16 of this year.

But they’ve shared additional information the public may find useful:

The Hepatitis A virus is a contagious disease that affects the liver. The virus can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. The disease can spread when an infected person does not wash his/her hands properly after going to the bathroom and then touches objects or food.

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection usually appear between two and four weeks after you have come in contact with the virus. However, the first symptoms may be seen anytime between 15 and 50 days. Symptoms include:

  • Fever, nausea, vomiting, dark colored urine, gray-colored stools, jaundice, joint pain, loss of appetite, fatigue, and/or abdominal pain.
  • Some people with the infection may have no symptoms at all but can still infect others.

“Hepatitis A is a preventable disease. It is important to know that proper sanitation, good personal hygiene, and vaccination prevent the spread of this disease,”  said Gary E. Zaborac, Director of Public Health in Clay County, “Even though this unfortunate incident occurred three hours away from the metro, the entire public health system continues to respond to protect our citizens.  This reminds us once again of the importance of having a strong public health system in place to prevent the spread of disease and protect the health of our citizens.”

This local public health response is targeted toward anyone who ate at the Springfield Red Robin between May 8 and May 16. Anyone who ate there during that time period should contact his or her health care provider or local public health department.

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