ADH: Another Hep A case reported in Clay County

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - People who ate at a Corning Flash Market/Subway may have been exposed to Hepatitis A.

The Arkansas Department of Health warned Friday of possible exposure after an employee at the Flash Market/Subway, 105 North Missouri Ave., tested positive for the virus.

Health officials say anyone who ate at the business between March 30 and April 7 should seek immediate care if they have never been vaccinated against the contagious liver disease or if they are unsure of their vaccine status.

The Clay County Local Health Unit (LHU) in Corning will hold a walk-in clinic to provide vaccinations against Hep A from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 21. The LHU is located at 301 N. Missouri Ave., Suite 18. The clinic will also be open from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 23.

Those who cannot attend the clinic will need a vaccine or medicine in the next week to prevent illness, the ADH stated.

Anyone who at the business but does not live in the area should contact their LHU or healthcare provider.

So far this year, 12 cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in Clay County, according to the state health department. Four of the cases involved food service workers. The ADH recommends that all food service workers in Clay County be vaccinated.

"This rise in cases is concerning," said Dr. Dirk Haselow, State Epidemiologist. "We are encouraging everyone in the county and surrounding areas to be aware of the risk factors for getting Hep A. If you are engaged in any of these risky behaviors, please get vaccinated. If you experience symptoms, visit your healthcare provider."

According to the ADH:

Typical symptoms of Hep A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Hep A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. A person can transmit the virus to others up to two weeks before and one week after symptoms appear.

The virus can cause illness anytime from two to seven weeks after exposure. If infected, most people will develop symptoms three to four weeks after exposure. Many people, especially children, may have no symptoms.  The older a person is when they get Hep A, typically the more severe symptoms they have. Up to one in three adults are typically hospitalized. Almost all people who get Hep A recover completely and do not have any lasting liver damage, although they may feel sick for months. All 12 of the current cases have been in adults.

Hepatitis A is preventable through vaccination. Hepatitis A vaccine has been recommended for school children for many years, and one dose of Hep A vaccine is required for entry into kindergarten and first grade as of 2014. Most adults are likely not vaccinated, but may have been if they received vaccinations prior to traveling internationally. Please contact the local health unit in your county for more information about vaccination.

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