Officials with the Scurry County Health Unit in Snyder, Texas announced yesterday that there has been a confirmed case of Hepatitis A. They say it is an isolated case and the investigation is ongoing.
Health officials say there is no indication the patient, an 84-year-old woman according to one commenter on the health department’s Facebook page, that she acquired the virus at a restaurant. They also not that there has not been an employee that has been symptomatic in any of the establishments that have been inspected.
Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver and is caused by the Hepatitis A virus. The virus is found in the bowel movements (stool) of infected people. It can be spread through close personal contact or through contaminated food that has been handled by an infected person. The virus can get under nails and, despite thorough hand washing, can still contaminate food.
Symptoms usually develop 15 to 50 days after exposure and include nausea, abdominal cramps, fever, dark urine, and/or yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice). Illness can be more severe in adults over 50 years of age or those with chronic liver disease. Illness can last for several weeks and people generally recover completely. If you have symptoms, stay home from school and/or work. Frequent hand washing, especially after using the toilet and before handling food, remains the most effective way to avoid the spread of Hepatitis A infections.
Hepatitis A vaccine can prevent Hepatitis disease, but only if given within 14 days of exposure.
Health officials say if you have these symptoms, or feel that you have come into contact with someone who has them, please see your primary care physician.