Virginia health officials warn of hepatitis A exposure at Luray restaurant

LURAY, Va. (WHSV) -- UPDATE (3:05 p.m.):

WHSV's Matthew Fultz spoke with the owner of Brookside Restaurant, Cee Cee Castile, over the phone this afternoon. She told him the restaurant has been in contact with the Health Department, who is monitoring the situation at the restaurant.

Restaurant staff have done a full inspection and, according to Castle, things are back to normal. All workers have been vaccinated against the disease and they're taking extra precautions to avoid any future outbreaks.

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ORIGINAL STORY

Last week, the Virginia Department of Health revealed a link between Hepatitis A and frozen strawberries from Egypt used in smoothies at Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in Virginia. Since that time, health officials throughout the state have been on alert for cases of Hepatitis A.

Now, a food handler in Luray has been found to have hepatitis A, which can be spread through hand contact.

According to the Lord Fairfax Health District, a food handler at Brookside Restaurant in Luray, Virginia, was diagnosed with hepatitis A. As a result, any person who ate at this restaurant from July 28, 2016 through August 5, 2016 and from August 14, 2016 through August 16, 2016 may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

Individuals who ate at Brookside on August 14, 15 or 16, 2016, may still benefit from vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A and should contact their health care providers immediately.

Health officials are not aware of any other cases of hepatitis A among restaurant patrons or staff at this time.

---SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS A---

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. The classic symptom of hepatitis A is jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or the eyes. Other symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools. Symptoms develop 15-50 days after exposure to the virus, which can occur through direct contact with another person who has the infection or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus.

---WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS---

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, please contact your medical provider to be evaluated. It is very important for people who have symptoms of hepatitis A to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service.

---PREVENTION---

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 against hepatitis A has reduced the risk of this disease in the past decade. Vaccination is available to anyone, but specifically recommended for all children, for travelers to certain countries, and for people at high risk for infection with the virus. Hepatitis A vaccine is available from health care providers (including some pharmacies and travel clinics) to protect against this disease.

---MORE INFORMATION---

Individuals can contact their local health department with any questions concerning this investigation. For more information, you can visit the Related Links section of this article.