Roanoke health officials report first death associated with Famous Anthony’s hepatitis A outbreak

Roanoke Valley News

UPDATE 3 p.m.: The director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, Dr. Cynthia Morrow, held a news conference on Friday afternoon to talk about the first death following the recent hepatitis A outbreak tied to Famous Anthony’s.

“The most important thing for us to remember about this situation is that we have had a serious outbreak of hepatitis A associated with three of the facilities associated with Famous Anthony’s,” said Dr. Morrow.

She went on to say that the last possible exposure date that they are concerned about is Aug. 27 and says there is no other threat.

Health officials say 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

According to Dr. Morrow, most people who were exposed should have already had symptoms. However, there is still a small number of people still in the hospital.

Health officials remind people that hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease and the health districts do offer vaccines. In fact, vaccines are being offered at the Roanoke City Health Department on Thursday, Oct. 21, and Friday, Oct. 22.


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — On Friday morning, Roanoke health officials reported that a person died after being hospitalized with hepatitis A, marking the first death from the outbreak tied to the Famous Anthony’s restaurant chain, which has infected more than three dozen people.

According to a statement released by the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts on Friday, Oct. 15, the person who died was hospitalized with complications from hepatitis A and had underlying medical conditions.

“My heart goes out to the family and friends of this individual,” said Dr. Cynthia Morrow, the director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts. “Hepatitis A virus typically causes self-limited inflammation of the liver, however in this outbreak, we have seen a high rate of severe disease.”

Health officials first reported the outbreak on Sept. 24, saying that a person who worked at three different Famous Anthony’s locations tested positive for the highly contagious infection.

As of Friday, though, the health districts have identified a total of 37 confirmed cases associated with this outbreak, including 26 hospitalizations.

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 these 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)
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Light-colored stools

If you have any of these symptoms, the health districts strongly recommend you stay home from work, especially if you work in food service, health care, or childcare.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease. The hepatitis A vaccine is specifically recommended for children, for travelers to certain countries, and for people at high risk for infection with the virus, however, since Virginia is experiencing multi-year widespread outbreaks of hepatitis A, vaccination is recommended for everyone.

Anyone who is not vaccinated against hepatitis A is encouraged to get the vaccine, which is currently available from many healthcare providers and local pharmacies. The Roanoke City Health Department located at 1502 Williamson Rd, 24012, will offer hepatitis A vaccine on Thursday, October 21, 2021 from 4-6pm and on Friday, October 22 from 8:30-11:30am and 1-4pm. No appointment necessary, walk-ins welcome.

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.

For more information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/hepatitis-a/.

Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts statement from Oct. 15, 2021

Dr. Morrow is set to hold a Zoom briefing at 3 p.m. on Friday to provide more information about the hepatitis A outbreak. You can watch her news conference live here at WFXRtv.com, on the WFXR News Facebook page, or on the WFXR News app.

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