Roanoke restaurant worker diagnosed with hepatitis A

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – An employee of a downtown Roanoke restaurant has been infected with hepatitis A, according to the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts (RCAHD).

Once the diagnosis was confirmed, the health department inspected and interviewed employees of Billy’s Restaurant on Market Street SE, and determined that although the employee worked during the infectious period for hepatitis A (June 20 – July 6, 2022) in this case, the employee did not handle food. RCAHD says the restaurant’s management team is cooperating with the investigation.

As a result of the investigation and because the person did not handle food, RCAHD says, this situation does not meet the criteria to recommend post-exposure hepatitis A vaccine for patrons of the restaurant.

The employee is off the schedule for the time being, according to Billy’s General Manager David Nakhle, and no other employees have felt sick or shown signs of infection.

“While we are disappointed to announce another case connected to a current hepatitis A outbreak in our area, we believe this situation is low risk for the public. Still, the hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all, since the current outbreak. Individuals who are uninsured or underinsured are encouraged to reach out to RCAHD local health departments for vaccine opportunities,” said RCAHD Health Director Dr. Cynthia Morrow.

As a precaution, RCAHD is offering free doses of hepatitis A vaccine to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last at a mobile clinic across the street from the Roanoke Health Department at 1513 Williamson Road NE. That will take place Tuesday, July 19, 11-2 p.m.

In addition to other local health department offices, many pharmacies and primary care providers offer hepatitis A vaccine.

Copyright 2022 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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