Update: Hepatitis A Outbreak

October 15, 2021
Media Contact: Christie Wills, Communications Officer, Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, christie.wills@vdh.virginia.gov, 804-892-4060 

Update: Hepatitis A Outbreak

ROANOKE, Va. — Today, the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts (RCAHD) announced that an adult who was hospitalized with complications from hepatitis A, and who had underlying medical conditions, has died. The RCAHD will disclose no further information about the individual to protect privacy and out of respect for the patient’s family. This is the first reported death associated with this recent outbreak of hepatitis A.

“My heart goes out to the family and friends of this individual,” said RCAHD health district director, Cynthia Morrow, MD, MPH. “Hepatitis A virus typically causes self-limited inflammation of the liver, however in this outbreak, we have seen a high rate of severe disease.” At this time, the RCAHD have identified a total of 37 confirmed cases including 26 hospitalizations. Anyone who visited any of the following Famous Anthony’s locations — 4913 Grandin Road, 6499 Williamson Road or 2221 Crystal Spring Ave. — from August 10 through 27 only, is urged to seek medical attention if they develop any of the following symptoms:

  • jaundice: yellowing of the skin or the eyes
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • dark urine
  • light-colored stools

It is also very important for people with symptoms to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service, health care, or childcare.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease. The hepatitis A vaccine is specifically recommended for children, for travelers to certain countries, and for people at high risk for infection with the virus, however, since Virginia is experiencing multi-year widespread outbreaks of hepatitis A, vaccination is recommended for everyone.

Anyone who is not vaccinated against hepatitis A is encouraged to get the vaccine, which is currently available from many healthcare providers and local pharmacies. The Roanoke City Health Department located at 1502 Williamson Rd, 24012, will offer hepatitis A vaccine on Thursday, October 21, 2021 from 4-6pm and on Friday, October 22 from 8:30-11:30am and 1-4pm. No appointment necessary, walk-ins welcome.

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.

For more information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/hepatitis-a/.

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