The restaurant has cooperated with the health department’s investigation and has taken proactive measures including scheduling vaccinations for susceptible employees and thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the restaurant, according to the health department.
Hepatitis A is spread when a person ingests the virus through close personal contact with an infected person or by eating food or drinks handled by someone who carries the virus. Hepatitis A can be transmitted when restaurant workers who have the virus do not wash their hands thoroughly after using the bathroom.
Symptoms usually begin two to seven weeks after exposure and usually last less than 2 months, but can last up to 6 months. Most people with hepatitis A do not have long-lasting illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it can cause serious illness, including inflammation of the liver, and some people with severe symptoms require hospitalization.
There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. In most cases, the liver heals within six months without lasting damage, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The health department recommends that potentially exposed people get vaccinated within 14 days of exposure if they have not been previously vaccinated or have not had hepatitis A. Those who have already been vaccinated or have been sick with hepatitis A in the past They are considered immune and do not need a vaccine at this time, according to the health department.
In 2021, a total of 5,728 cases of hepatitis A were reported in the United States, but due to underreporting, the actual number of cases is likely around 11,500, according to the CDC.
Those with questions are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider or call the Gwinnett County Health Department at 770-339-4260 (press 0 and ask to speak to the epidemiologist on call). You can also contact an epidemiologist after hours by calling 404-323-1910 or 866-PUB-HLTH.