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Health Alert: Vicksburg restaurant employee diagnosed with hepatitis A

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An employee of the Gumbo Pot restaurant in Vicksburg may have exposed customers to hepatitis A.

An employee of a restaurant in Vicksburg has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, reports the Mississippi State Department of Health.

The infected employee may have exposed Gumbo Pot customers to the infection on Jan. 17, 18 or 22, the last dates the employee worked there. The restaurant is located at 3401 Halls Ferry Road #5.

Vaccination can prevent hepatitis A only if given within 14 days of exposure. Because those who ate at the restaurant on Jan. 17 and 18 would have been exposed more than 14 days ago, they should watch for any possible symptoms of hepatitis A and see their doctor if they become ill. Those who ate at the restaurant on Jan. 22 should get the hepatitis A vaccination if they have not been previously vaccinated.

Those who think they may have been exposed to this case can receive a hepatitis A vaccination free of charge from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 3 and Tuesday, Feb. 4 at the Warren County Health Department, 807 Monroe St. in Vicksburg.

“The risk of transmission of hepatitis A in this situation is likely very low. However, as a precaution, we recommend that anyone who ate food from this restaurant on Jan. 22 should consider getting a hepatitis A vaccination if they have not done so already. And again, those who may have been exposed on Jan. 17 and 18 should watch for any possible symptoms of hepatitis A and see their doctor if become ill,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers in a statement.

“The management and staff of the Gumbo Pot are fully cooperating with MSDH to prevent illnesses as a result of this exposure,” Byers added.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that causes fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), abdominal pain and dark-colored urine. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool (feces) from an infected person. If you think you have symptoms of hepatitis A, you should contact your healthcare provider.

Everyone can prevent the spread of hepatitis A by carefully washing hands with soap and water, including under the fingernails, after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.

As a reminder, there is an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in Mississippi and surrounding states affecting those who use drugs, those who are in jail or were recently in jail, those with unstable housing or who are homeless, and men who have sex with men. The MSDH continues to recommend hepatitis A vaccination for those specific groups as well.

For more information about the outbreak, click here.

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Vicksburg Daily News