The City of Lubbock issued a news release Wednesday warning that anyone who ate at Cheddar’s Casual Café, 4009 S. Loop 289, in Lubbock, Texas from August 31 through September 8 may have been exposed to Hepatitis A through a restaurant employee.
According to local TV station KCBD and the news release:
An employee of the restaurant, who has not worked at the restaurant since September 8, has been diagnosed with the viral illness and may have passed the virus on to others. The incident has been traced to the employee and not the restaurant.
According to Lubbock officials, the city was working to secure vaccine to offer to anyone who patronized the restaurant during the potential exposure period.
The Hepatitis A virus travels in feces, and can spread from person to person, or can be contracted from food or water. In cases of contaminated food, it is usually the person preparing the food who contaminates it. Food handlers will probably not know they have the virus, since the virus is most likely to be passed on in the first two weeks of illness, before a person begins to show symptoms.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A usually appear around 28 days after infection, but can start as early as two weeks after catching the virus. Early symptoms of this hepatitis virus include:
— Muscle aches
— Loss of appetite
— Abdominal discomfort
— Weakness and fatigue
After a few days of experiencing these symptoms, 70 percent of patients develop jaundice, a yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Jaundice also causes dark urine and light, clay-colored feces. Symptoms usually last less than two months, although they sometimes last up to six months, and jaundice can linger for up to eight months. Patients can also experience severely itchy skin for a few months after symptoms first appear.
It is important to note, however, that symptoms of the disease can vary in severity. For instance, some individuals, especially children, may not develop jaundice or any symptom at all, and may have an illness so mild that it can go unnoticed. However, even mildly ill persons can still be highly infectious. Persons with illness suggestive of hepatitis should consult a physician even if symptoms are mild.