ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Just over a month after health officials announced a hepatitis A outbreak tied to the Famous Anthony’s restaurant chain, the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts are reporting 50 cases associated with the outbreak.
On Sept. 24, health officials reported that 10 people were diagnosed with hepatitis A after an employee who worked at three different Famous Anthony’s locations tested positive for the highly contagious infection.
As of Tuesday, Oct. 26, Dr. Cynthia Morrow — the director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts — says 49 primary hepatitis A cases have been reported in connection with the outbreak, as well as one secondary case.
According to Dr. Morrow, 31 of those people ended up in the hospital due to the severity of their symptoms.
This news comes after Dr. Morrow announced the first death associated with the hepatitis A outbreak on Oct. 15. That person was reportedly hospitalized with complications from the infection and had underlying medical conditions.
Exposure to hepatitis A may occur through direct contact with someone who is infected, or by eating or drinking something that is contaminated.
According to health officials, anyone who visited any of the following Famous Anthony’s locations between Aug. 10 and Aug. 27 could have been exposed:
- 4913 Grandin Road
- 6499 Williamson Road
- 2221 Crystal Spring Avenue
If you visited any of those three restaurant locations between Aug. 10 and Aug. 27, you are urged to seek medical attention if you develop the following symptoms:
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or the eyes)
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Light-colored stools
Health experts say symptoms may develop up 50 days after exposure, but according to Dr. Morrow, no new cases have been reported since that estimated incubation period passed on Oct. 15.
As a result, Dr. Morrow says they are cautiously optimistic that they have identified all of the people associated with the outbreak, but since symptoms from hepatitis A can last for months after exposure, it is still possible for new cases to emerge among people who are sick but whose symptoms have not been identified.
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