STERLING, Va. — A restaurant employee in Sterling, Virginia has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. The employee worked at Señor Ramon located at 22455 Davis Drive in Sterling.
Officials said anyone who ate at the Señor Ramon from July 18 to 26 might've been exposed to hepatitis A. Management at the restaurant notified the Loudoun County Health Department, and has been complying with all requests, officials said.
There's no indication of any food products at Señor Ramon being the source of infection. Additionally, there's no indication that patrons at other locations were affected.
Officials said anyone who hasn't been previously vaccinated for hepatitis A, nor had the disease in the past, are susceptible to infection.
Susceptible individuals who consumed anything from Señor Ramon at 22455 Davis Drive in Sterling could still "benefit from vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A if received within two weeks of the date of exposure," officials said.
The hepatitis A vaccine is available at many urgent care clinics, at pharmacies in the community and at the Loudoun County Health Department.
Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver, and is caused by the hepatitis A virus. The classic symptom of of hepatitis A is jaundice. Other symptoms include "fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools," officials said.
Symptoms of hepatitis A develop 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus. Exposure can occur through direct contact with another person who has the infection, or by consuming anything that was contaminated with the virus.
According to officials, people are at increased risk of acquiring hepatitis A when they've been in close, continuous contact with someone who's infected -- particularly in a household or day care setting.
Vaccination isn't considered helpful over 14 days after exposure, but it's still important to contact a medical provider to be evaluated if you're experiencing any of the symptoms listed,even after two weeks have elapsed.
Officials said if you're experiencing symptoms of hepatitis A, you should stay home from work, especially if you work in health care, child care or food service.
To help prevent the spread of hepatitis A, officials recommend washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper or before preparing food.
Additionally, routine vaccinations against hepatitis A has reduced the risk of the disease in the past. Anyone can get the vaccine, but it's specifically recommended for children, for people traveling to certain countries and for anyone who's at high risk for infection with the virus.