Possible Hepatitis A exposure steadily continues as number rises to 5 restaurants

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — The South Carolina DHEC officials say two restaurants might have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus in Hilton Head and Aiken County.

DHEC was notified on June 17, that an employee at the Harbour Town Yacht Club in Hilton Head tested positive for hepatitis A. Guests who ate at three events at the yacht club could have been exposed. The events included a social on June 8, a dinner on June 13 and a wedding party on June 14.

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Also on June 17, DHEC was notified that an employee at the Popeyes on 954 York St. NE, Aiken tested positive for hepatitis A as well. Any customers who ate there between May 29 and June 12 could have been exposed to the virus.

DHEC is working with the yacht club and Popeyes to investigate exposures and provide treatment to those who may be affected.

Both restaurants received an A rating during their last inspections.

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Other employees who tested positive for the virus were found at restaurants in Columbia, North Augusta and Charleston County over the span of last month and early June.

DHEC officials say the risk of the hepatitis A virus spreading from an infected employee to customers in a restaurant setting is low.  But the bigger concern is the spread of hepatitis A among high-risk groups and people who live with and have close contact to a person with hepatitis A.

Although exposure to customers is low in a restaurant setting, customers should still be considered for vaccinations during the time the food handler was contagious.

Currently there are a total of 147 outbreak-associated hepatitis A cases in South Carolina, according to DHEC.

For more information about hepatitis A, visit the DHEC website.

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