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Restaurant worker with Hepatitis A spurs warning from Cobb health department

Anyone who ate at the restaurant is urged to monitor themselves for symptoms and contact a healthcare provider if any arise in the first 50 days after exposure.

SMYRNA, Ga. — The owners of a metro Atlanta restaurant are working with health officials to vaccinate and monitor their staff after a worker there was found to have Hepatitis A.

Authorities with Cobb and Douglas Public Health issued an advisory on Saturday after learning that a person infected with Hepatitis A had worked as a food handler at Vittles Restaurant in Smyrna as recently as Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Cobb County said the infected worker will not return to the restaurant until cleared by health officials.

In a statement, Cobb and Douglas Public Health said it is rare for a restaurant patron to become infected with hepatitis A due to an infected food handler, but anyone who consumed food or drinks at the restaurant on that day is urged to contact a healthcare provider.

Hepatitis A vaccinations are also available at Cobb and Douglas Public Health clinics from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The agency said there is no out-of-pocket cost regardless of insurance status.

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Anyone who did consume food at the location should monitor their health for symptoms for up to 50 days after exposure. They should also wash their hands thoroughly and often and stay home and contact a doctor immediately if symptoms develop.

According to the health department, hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that causes loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, dark-colored urine, and light-colored stools. The illness also causes yellowing of the skin or eyes.

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The condition itself is acquired when a person ingests the virus from objects, foods, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. It spreads primarily when an infected person doesn't properly wash their hands after using the restroom.