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On Friday, Virginia health officials reported an employee who worked at three Famous Anthony’s restaurant locations in Roanoke has been diagnosed with hepatitis A.

Image/CDC (cropped)

A health alert was issued to patrons of the restaurant at the following locations — 4913 Grandin Road, 6499 Williamson Road or 2221 Crystal Spring Ave. — from August 10 through 26 only, that they may have been exposed.

As of Friday, the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts (RCAHD) reported investigating nine cases of hepatitis A associated with this exposure.

On Tuesday, the health authorities said the total number of people infected with hepatitis A following potential exposures at three Famous Anthony’s locations in Roanoke had risen to 14. At least three of the people have been hospitalized.

The leadership team at Famous Anthony’s has been assisting, and is fully cooperating, with the investigation.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) says the symptoms of hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of the skin or the eyes), fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, or light-colored stools.

If you develop any of these symptoms, please seek medical care and let your healthcare provider know of your possible exposure.  It is also very important for people with symptoms to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service, health care or child care.

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. Anyone who is not currently vaccinated against Hepatitis A is encouraged to get the vaccine, which is currently available from many healthcare providers, health clinics and local pharmacies and is part of routine childhood vaccination series.

Exposure to hepatitis A virus may occur through direct contact with an infected person or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated. Symptoms may develop 15 to 50 days following exposure. People are at increased risk if they have been in close and continuous contact with an infected person, particularly in a household or day care setting.

Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Routine vaccination reduces the risk of this disease and is available to anyone.