Health Department Issues Hepatitis A Warnings For Another NE Arkansas Restaurant

JONESBORO (KFSM) — The Arkansas Department of Health warned of yet another outbreak Thursday of Hepatitis A stemming from a restaurant in Northeast Arkansas.

The ADH warned of a possible exposure after an employee at Pizza Inn on Southwest Drive in Jonesboro tested positive for the virus.

The health department said anyone who ate at the restaurant between Sept. 4 and Sept. 17 should be vaccinated immediately if they’ve never received a hep A vaccination or if they were unsure of their status. There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis A, but illness can be prevented if the person is vaccinated within two weeks of exposure.

Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver. Typical symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain or jaundice, which is a yellowing of the eyes or skin. The illness can range from mild symptoms for a few weeks to severe illness for several months. A person can transmit the virus up to two weeks before and one week after symptoms appear. Most people develop symptoms 3-4 weeks after exposure, though the virus can cause illness 2-7 weeks after exposure. Many people show no symptoms. Most fully recover from hepatitis A with no long-lasting liver damage.

Vaccinations will be given at the Craighead County Health Unit at 611 E. Washington Street in Jonesboro from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, to Monday, Sept. 24 at no cost. Those wishing to bring the vaccine should bring their insurance card and a driver’s license.

The warnings come after 130 cases of hepatitis A have been reported in Northeast Arkansas, resulting in one death. Cases have been reported in Greene, Clay, Craighead, Independence, Lawrence, Lee, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett and Randolph counties.

More information on hepatitis A and the outbreak in Arkansas is available on the ADH website at www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

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