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TMCNet:  Possible Hepatitis A exposure reported at a Concord Hooters

[February 20, 2013]

Possible Hepatitis A exposure reported at a Concord Hooters

Feb 19, 2013 (Independent Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- CONCORD, N.C. -- Diners at two local restaurants may have been exposed to Hepatitis A, according to a press release issued by the Cabarrus Health Alliance on Tuesday afternoon.

Anyone who ate at Hooters on Bruton Smith Boulevard in Concord on Feb. 7 or Feb. 8 between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. may have been exposed to Hepatitis A, according to the Cabarrus Health Alliance.

Additionally, anyone who ate or drank at the Whiskey Warehouse, located at 1221 The Plaza in Charlotte on Feb. 6 between the hours of 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., on Feb. 9 between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. or on Feb. 13 between 7 and 8:30 p.m., may also have been exposed to Hepatitis A, according to the Mecklenburg County Health Department.

An employee of both restaurant/bars has been confirmed with having viral Hepatitis A. Those who have had a Hepatitis A infection or one Hepatitis A vaccination are protected from the virus and do not need to take action.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department, Cabarrus Health Alliance, and the North Carolina Division of Public Health are recommending a vaccination or shot for exposed employees and patrons if the vaccine or shot can be given within 14 days of the last exposure. The vaccine is a prevention measure only. If symptoms are already present, persons should consult with a health care provider.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus. The Hepatitis vaccine is very effective in reducing the risk of disease when administered within 14 days of the last day of exposure. Hepatitis A is usually spread by eating or drinking items that have been contaminated with the virus or by close personal contact with an infected person. Symptoms appear about two to seven weeks after exposure and commonly include fever, a feeling of being unwell, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal discomfort; urine may become darker in color and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes) may appear, according to the Cabarrus Health Alliance Some individuals, especially children, may not develop jaundice, and may have an illness so mild that it can go unnoticed. However, even mildly ill persons can still be highly infectious. Most people recover without complications after several weeks. People who have pre-existing liver problems can become extremely ill if they contract Hepatitis A. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should see their doctor.

Careful hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of hepatitis A and should include vigorous washing of hands with soap and running water for minimum of 20 seconds, according to health officials. All surfaces should be washed including the back of the hands, wrists, between fingers and under fingernails. This is especially important after using the bathroom and before handling food or beverages. Anyone who may have been exposed is strongly encouraged to follow this practice to reduce the risk of spreading illness to others.

The Cabarrus Health Alliance is located at 300 Mooresville Road, Kannapolis, and will offer the following clinic hours for walk-in service: 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, and Thursday, Feb. 21.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department will offer walk-in service only at the 249 Billingsley Road location. The hours there will be: from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20; and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21.

For more information, contact the Cabarrus Health Alliance's health information line at 704-920-1213 or visit www.cabarrushealth.org.

For more information regarding Mecklenburg County Health Department services, call the Communicable Disease division at 704-336-5398 or 704-336-6436 or visit www.meckhealth.org. Additional information is also available on the Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/A/index.htm.

___ (c)2013 the Independent Tribune (Kannapolis, N.C.) Visit the Independent Tribune (Kannapolis, N.C.) at www.independenttribune.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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