May 24, 2022
Media Contact: Christie Wills, Communications Officer, Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts (RCAHD), firstname.lastname@example.org
Health Alert: Potential Hepatitis A Exposure at Local Roanoke Restaurant
(ROANOKE, Va.) – On Monday, May 23, the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts (RCHAD) received a new report of an employee of a local food establishment who has been infected with hepatitis A. The local health department dispatched the environmental health team to Tuco’s Taqueria Garaje, 416 Salem Ave. in Roanoke to conduct a comprehensive inspection and to interview key personnel. The restaurant’s management team is fully cooperating with the investigation. Based on the inspection and interviews, it was determined that there is no significant risk of exposure to the public since it was determined the individual did not directly handle food.
Out of an abundance of caution and given the high level of sensitivity to the current hepatitis A outbreak in our community, the Roanoke City Health Department is offering hepatitis A vaccine to anyone who ate at Tuco’s Taqueria Garaje between May 3-15, 2022. Hepatitis A vaccines will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last at the Roanoke Health Department, located on the second floor at 1502 Williamson Road:
- Thursday, May 26, 3-6 p.m.
- Friday, May 27, 8:30-11:30 a.m.
- Friday, May 27, 1-4 p.m.
“While we are saddened to announce another case connected to a current hepatitis A outbreak in our area, we believe this potential exposure is low risk for the public. Still, the hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all, and may be available through your provider or pharmacist. Individuals who are uninsured or underinsured are encouraged to reach out to RCAHD local health departments for vaccine opportunities,” said RCAHD Health Director Dr. Cynthia Morrow.
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 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. Virginia has experienced widespread outbreaks of hepatitis A across the Commonwealth, and vaccination is recommended for everyone.
For more information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/hepatitis-a/.