Health officials warn of hepatitis A in western Arkansas

Health officials warn of hepatitis A in western Arkansas

Health officials warn of hepatitis A in western Arkansas

The Arkansas Department of Health is warning anyone who may have eaten at the Fort Smith Red Lobster on Rogers Avenue between July 19 and August 4 should seek vaccination immediately if they have never received a hepatitis A vaccine.

The Arkansas Department of Health is issuing a warning after a fast food worker tested positive for Hepatitis A.

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"I think Little Caesar is taking it more serious by them being a big chain across the country", said Greene County resident James Wren.

Officials say the case is unrelated to outbreaks in northeast Arkansas, which has sickened at least 80 people and caused one death.

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Arkansas health officials have set up two vaccination clinics for the public after a Red Lobster employee tested positive. 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). People should bring their insurance card and driver's license if they have one. Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek help immediately. Illness can last for months, though permanent damage is rare. The hep A vaccine is safe and effective.

Hepatitis A, a highly contagious liver disease, can be spread in several ways, including: eating even a small amount of contaminated fecal matter; eating food handled by someone with the virus who did not wash his/her hands beforehand; eating raw shellfish from polluted waters; or having sex with someone who has the vurus. These behaviors have likely reduced the risk of illness to the public.

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