At least three people have been admitted to hospitals in a growing outbreak of hepatitis A linked to restaurants in Virginia.

There are now 14 people confirmed infected, according to state health officials. Four of those patients are new since the outbreak was initially reported on Sept. 24. 

Additional patients are highly likely to be identified. It takes 15 to 50 days for hepatitis A symptoms to develop, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The infected people ate at three Famous Anthony’s restaurants, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Cynthia Morrow from the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts provided an update on the outbreak earlier this week.

An official with the state health department reported that a person who worked at the three implicated restaurants has tested positive for the virus, which causes liver infections. Hepatitis A is highly contagious, but can be prevented with vaccination.

Post-exposure vaccines are available, but are not effective unless given within two weeks of exposure. So, none of the patients in this outbreak were eligible for the post-exposure treatment because of the lag time between the exposures and the detection of the outbreak.

The implicated Famous Anthony’s restaurants are at:

  • 4913 Grandin Road
  • 6499 Williamson Road
  • 2221 Crystal Spring Avenue

According to the federal CDC anyone who suspects they have been exposed to hepatitis A should monitor themselves for symptoms for the two months. Symptoms include jaundice: (yellowing of the skin or the eyes), fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, or light-colored stools.

Anyone who ate at the any of the three restaurants and developed symptoms should contact a health care provider and tell them of the exposure. Specific tests are required to diagnose hepatitis A, which can mimic other illnesses.

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