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Patrons of Hilton Head restaurant warned of possible hepatitis exposure

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is advising customers of Hudson's Seafood House on the Docks in Hilton Head Island who dined there on the evening of February 15, 2014 to check with their doctor after a restaurant employee tested positive for the hepatitis A virus, according to a DHEC news release Feb. 22.

The restaurant is working closely with DHEC to identify and contact customers and staff who may have been exposed to the virus. It is important for the public to know that this is not a food-borne outbreak.
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The employee worked at the restaurant on the evening of February 15 and has not returned to work.

Hudson's Seafood House is working with the DHEC to identify and contact customers and staff who may have been exposed to the virus.

Anita Brock, Director of DHEC's Bureau of Disease Control said that individuals who were present at the restaurant on February 15, between 4 p.m. and closing, should contact their primary care provider to receive the post-exposure treatment for Hepatitis A no later than March 1.

The treatment consists of a one dose vaccine, which must be administered within fourteen (14) days of possible exposure to be effective.

Restaurant owner, Brian Carmines said, "We are determined to take whatever steps DHEC recommends to ensure the safety of our customers and staff."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis 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.

Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter,even in microscopic amounts, from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person.

Not everyone has symptoms. If symptoms develop, they usually appear 2 to 6 weeks after becoming infected and can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and jaundice.

There is no specific treatment once symptoms appear, but a vaccination can help lessen the effects of the disease if given within 14 days of exposure.

The best way to control the spread of hepatitis A and many other illnesses is through proper hand washing, especially after using the restroom, changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food. Hand washing should include 20 seconds of vigorous soaping of all parts of the hands, especially between fingers and under fingernails.

Have a question? Operators at the DHEC are available at 1-800-868-0404 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

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