Health Alert: Potential Hepatitis A Exposure at Sterling Restaurant

The Loudoun County Health Department has issued a safety alert after an employee at the Señor Ramon restaurant in Sterling was diagnosed with hepatitis A.

Accoring to the agency, people eating at the restaurant, located at 22455 Davis Drive, between July 10 and July 26 may have been exposed to hepatitis A.The restaurant’s management notified theLoudoun County Health Departmentabout the situation and has been complying fully with all requests.

There is no indication of any food products atSeñor Ramonbeing the source of infection and no indication that patrons at other locations were affected.

Individuals who have not been previously vaccinated for hepatitis A or had the disease in the past are susceptible to infection. Susceptible individuals who ate or drank anything at the restaurant during that time period may still benefit from vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A if received within two weeks of the date of exposure. Hepatitis A vaccine is available at various urgent care clinics and pharmacies in the community and at the Loudoun County Health Department in Leesburg.

The hepatitis A virus causes an inflammation of the liver. The classic symptom is jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or the eyes. Other symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools.

Symptoms develop 15-50 days after exposure to the virus. Exposure can occur through direct contact with another person who has the infection or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus.

While vaccination is not considered helpful more than 14 days after exposure, those experiencing any of the symptoms even after two weeks have elapsed are encouraged to contact their medical provider. Those showing symptoms of hepatitis A should stay home from work, especially if they work in food service, health care or child care.

Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.

Routine vaccination against hepatitis A has reduced the risk of this disease in the past decade. Vaccination is available to anyone, but specifically recommended for all children, for travelers to certain countries, and for people at high risk for infection with the virus, including intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men, persons with clotting factor disorders.

For more information on hepatitis A, go to:
vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/hepatitis-a/.

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