By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

In a follow-up on the hepatitis A outbreak in the Roanoke, Virginia area linked to Famous Anthony’s restaurants, officials with the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts (RCAHD) say three people have died.


In addition, officials have identified 49 confirmed cases, including 31 hospitalizations.

The cases have been tied to a restaurant employee who worked at several locations of the restaurant chain.

“It is always with extreme sadness that we report the death of an individual,” said RCAHD health director, Cynthia Morrow, MD, MPH. “This heartbreaking loss of life illustrates how serious this outbreak is. Unfortunately, in this situation, we have seen many individuals experiencing severe disease, and in some cases, their symptoms have continued to progress over weeks.”

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.