December 4, 2019

For More Information, Contact Breanne Forbes Hubbard, population health manager, Mount Rogers Health District, Breanne.forbes-hubbard@vdh.virginia.gov, 276-759-8297

(BRISTOL, Va.) – The Mount Rogers Health District reports that an employee at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, located at 1003 Old Airport Rd. in Bristol, Virginia, has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. As a result, persons who ate there on November 16 or 17, 2019 may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

“Individuals who dined at Cheddar’s during that time and who have not been previously vaccinated for hepatitis A or have not previously had the disease are recommended to receive the hepatitis A vaccine,” said Karen Shelton, M.D., director of the health district. “This may help prevent, or lessen the severity of, illness. The vaccine is most effective if received within two weeks of the date of exposure, but is still beneficial to receive it after that time.”

“Cheddar’s has always been compliant with safe food handling practices, and has been very cooperative in dealing with this situation,” states Dr. Shelton.

Hepatitis A vaccine is available at the Washington County Health Department, 15068 Lee Highway in Bristol, Virginia on Thursday, December 5 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday, December 6 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. The classic symptom is jaundice: yellowing of the skin or the eyes. Other symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools. It is important to contact your medical provider if you have symptoms of hepatitis A infection. It is also very important for people who have symptoms to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service, health care or child care.

“Exposure to hepatitis A virus may occur through direct contact with an infected person or by consuming food or drink that is contaminated, and symptoms may develop from 15 up to 50 days following exposure,” said Julia Banks, district nurse epidemiologist for the Mount Rogers Health District. “Persons 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 was declared an outbreak state for hepatitis A in April, 2019.  Surrounding states are also experiencing hepatitis A outbreaks. The vaccine is available from health care providers, including some pharmacies and travel clinics.

For more information, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/hepatitis-a/ or call 276-676-5604 or 276-645-0947.