SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

North Carolina diners may have been exposed to hepatitis

North Carolina health officials are warning people who recently ate at restaurants in Charlotte and Concord that they were potentially exposed to hepatitis A.

An employee of the Hooters restaurant on Bruton Smith Blvd. in Concord and the Whiskey Warehouse at 1221 The Plaza in Charlotte was confirmed to have viral hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus that can be spread by eating or drinking items contaminated with the virus or by close personal contact with a person infected with the virus, the Salisbury Post reports.

Customers who ate at the Concord-based Hooters on February 7 and February 8 between 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. were potentially exposed to hepatitis A. Diners who ate or drank at the Charlotte-based Whiskey Warehouse on February 6 between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., on February 9 between 4:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m., or on February 13 between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. were potentially exposed to hepatitis A.

People who were previously infected with hepatitis A or received a hepatitis A vaccination are protected from the virus and do not need to take action.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department, Cabarrus Health Alliance and the N.C. Division of Public Health recommended that customers and employees who were potentially exposed receive a vaccination or shot. The shot or vaccine can be given within 14 days of the last exposure, the Salisbury Post reports.

If symptoms are already present, diners and employees should consult with a healthcare provider. Symptoms include a feeling of being unwell, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, darker urine and jaundice. Even mildly ill people with hepatitis A may be highly infectious.

Most people with symptoms recover without complications after several weeks.