ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts (RCHAD) reported an employee at a Roanoke restaurant has been infected with hepatitis A.
According to the RCHAD, the employee was working at Billy’s Restaurant at 102 Market Street SE in Roanoke between June 20 and July 6. Health officials conducted an investigation and determined that the worker did not handle food during that time period.
Health officials say that because the worker didn’t hand food, the incident does not require anyone who ate at the restaurant to need a vaccine
“While we are disappointed to announce another case connected to a current hepatitis A outbreak in our area, we believe this situation is low risk for the public. Still, the hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all, since the current outbreak. Individuals who are uninsured or underinsured are encouraged to reach out to RCAHD local health departments for vaccine opportunities,” RCAHD Health Director Dr. Cynthia Morrow said.
However, the RCAHD will offer free hepatitis A vaccines at a mobile clinic located across the street from the Roanoke Health Department at 1513 Williamson Road NE on Tuesday, July 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Health officials also say that many pharmacies and primary care providers will also provide the vaccine.
Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. Anyone who is not currently vaccinated against hepatitis A is encouraged to get the vaccine, which is available from many healthcare providers, health clinics and local pharmacies and is part of routine childhood vaccination series.
Exposure to hepatitis A virus may occur through direct contact with an infected person or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated. Symptoms may develop 15 to 50 days following exposure. People are at increased risk if they have been in close and continuous contact with an infected person, particularly in a household or day care setting.
Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Routine vaccination reduces the risk of this disease and is available to anyone. Virginia has experienced widespread outbreaks of hepatitis A across the Commonwealth, and vaccination is recommended for everyone.Statement released on July 15, 2022 by the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts
In their latest public health update on Tuesday, July 12, health officials announced that 76 cases of hepatitis A — including 55 hospitalizations — had been reported within the RCAHD, which is four more cases than the week before.
You can read the RCAHD’s most recent public health update below:
This news comes less than two months after the health districts alerted community members about potential hepatitis A exposures at two other Roanoke restaurants — Luigi’s Restaurant and Tuco’s Taqueria Garaje.