October 15, 1999
Hepatitis A Exposure at St. Louis Hard Rock Cafe
Springfield, IL (SafetyAlerts)
- Illinoisans who ate at the Union Station Hard Rock Café in St. Louis, Mo., on various
dates in early October, including a weekend when the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals
played a season-ending series in that city, may have been exposed to hepatitis A by
an infected restaurant employee, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, today
Dr. Lumpkin said persons who ate at the restaurant
on Oct. 1, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9 should contact their physician, local hospital or local health
department about receiving a shot of immune globulin, which is greater than 85 percent
effective in protecting against hepatitis A. The Cubs and Cardinals played on Oct. 1, 2
Illinois officials were notified Wednesday by the
St. Louis Health Department that an infected food handler had worked at the restaurant
between Sept. 17 and Oct. 9.
Immune globulin is only effective when given
within 14 days of exposure, so persons who ate between Sept. 17 and Sept. 30 at the
restaurant would not be recommended for the shot. Those individuals should contact their
physician if they develop hepatitis A symptoms. They also should wash their hands
frequently, especially after using the toilet, so, if infected, they do not spread the
virus to others.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection that causes
inflammation of the liver and occurs 15 days to 50 days after exposure to an infected
person. Symptoms may include loss of appetite, tiredness, nausea and vomiting and, in many
infected persons, yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes. Diarrhea is not usually
present with this disease but, when it is, the risk of transmitting the virus to others
Most people recover without any complications, but
on rare occasions hepatitis A can be fatal. Children with hepatitis A often do not have
symptoms, but can transmit the virus to others if hands are not thoroughly washed.
Hepatitis A is contracted through the mouth and
excreted in the stool. It can be spread by close personal contact with infected persons,
or by eating or drinking food or beverages handled by an infected person.
Although immune globulin can be effective in
preventing illness due to the hepatitis A virus, it does not kill the virus. Persons who
have been exposed should wash their hands thoroughly after having a bowel movement to
prevent transmission to others.
Source: Illinois Department of Health
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