BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. — People who ate at a Waffle House restaurant in Goose Creek, South Carolina between August 24 and September 13 may have been exposed to hepatitis A, state health officials said Tuesday.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control said an employee at the Waffle House at 120 South Goose Creek Boulevard in Berkeley County tested positive for hepatitis A.
In a release, DHEC said that anyone who ate at the restaurant between September 3 and September 13 of this year should get a hepatitis A vaccination as soon as possible. Anyone who ate at the restaurant between August 24 and September 2 are unlikely to benefit from post-exposure treatment, DHEC said.
You can also visit the Goose Creek Health Department from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 19 and Friday, September 20 without an appointment. In South Carolina, adults and get vaccinated at some pharmacies without a prescription, depending on health insurance coverage.
In May, DHEC declared a statewide hepatitis A outbreak based on an increase in the number of confirmed cases. Between November 1, 2018 and September 13, 2019, there have been 409 reported cases in South Carolina.
Waffle House issued the following statement to NBC Charlotte:
"Once alerted about the condition of our employee, we immediately closed the restaurant to clean and sanitize. The health department has determined the restaurant is safe to open, and the restaurant is now open. We will vaccinate our employees at this location and all of our employees in the Charleston area. To our knowledge no customer has contracted the virus from eating at our restaurant, however in an abundance of caution, we have taken these and other steps to ensure our employees and customers are safe."
Last June, over 1,000 people were vaccinated for hepatitis A after a west Charlotte Hardee's was linked to over 4,000 people being exposed by an employee.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Most people who get hepatitis A feel sick for several weeks, but they usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. People usually become sick within two to six weeks after being exposed to the virus. Symptoms of infection include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, belly pain or yellowing of the eyes and skin.