Department of Health says restaurant employee in downtown Roanoke had hepatitis | local news

The City of Roanoke and Ghanaian Health District announced Friday that an employee has contracted hepatitis A while working at a restaurant in downtown Roanoke over the past month.

However, the Department of Health said the worker did not handle food, and the agency does not recommend Bailey’s patrons between June 20 and July 6 seek treatment.

Market Street Restaurant and Bar is the fourth in Roanoke Valley with a confirmed employee case of hepatitis A within the past year.

About 50 people became ill in 2021 by an infected employee after dining at Famous Anthony’s Restaurant in Roanoke and Roanoke County. Four of them died, more than 30 were hospitalized and two underwent a liver transplant.

In May, the Ministry of Health also identified reversals of liver A at Tuco’s Taqueria Garaje and at Luigi’s Italian Gourmet.

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“While we are disappointed to announce another case linked to the current hepatitis A outbreak in our region, we believe this situation presents a low risk to the public,” the health department said after examining Bailey’s case.

Health officials have been battling a community-wide outbreak of hepatitis A that extends outside the doors of restaurants. They said the disease is spread primarily among people who abuse drugs.

Hepatitis A is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver, which can prevent the organ from working normally. According to the American Liver Foundation, hepatitis A is most commonly spread by not washing hands before preparing or eating food or by not washing hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers.

Citing what it called an abundance of caution, the Department of Health offered hepatitis A vaccines to Tuco’s and Luigi’s clients.

In Belize, an infected worker did not handle food, a health department press release said, adding: “This situation does not meet the criteria for recommending a hepatitis A vaccine after exposure to diners.”

However, the Roanoke Department of Health is providing free doses of the hepatitis A vaccine to the public on a first-come-first-served basis, while supplies continue at a mobile clinic located across the street from the agency’s headquarters at 1513 Williamson Rd. Tuesday, July 19, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

In addition, many pharmacies and primary care providers offer the hepatitis A vaccine, the Department of Health said.

The Department of Health said Bailey had fully cooperated during the investigation.

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