AP NEWS

DHEC declares hepatitis A outbreak after possible exposure at second Aiken restaurant

February 14, 2019

For the second time in as many weeks, DHEC is warning of the possible exposure to the hepatitis A virus at an Aiken restaurant.

On Tuesday, DHEC was notified that an employee at City Billiards tested positive for hepatitis A. Customers who ate at the restaurant between Jan. 22 and Feb. 5 may have been exposed to the virus.

This warning comes a week after DHEC warned of potential exposure to the virus at Aiken Brewing Company. DHEC said it is not aware of a known connection between the two cases.

DHEC has declared a hepatitis A outbreak in Aiken County following the most recent positive test.

There have been 10 hepatitis A cases diagnosed in Aiken County since Dec. 1, according to the news release.

“It is important to note that these cases are not a food-related outbreak. In this case, as well as the case reported on February 4, 2019, DHEC State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said in the release, “The risk of the hepatitis A virus spreading from an infected employee to customers in a restaurant setting is low. The concern is with a food handler with hepatitis A infection, not the restaurant.”

DHEC will offer free hepatitis A vaccines to individuals who may have been exposed as a precaution.

Customers and staff who ate food prepared at the restaurant from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5 are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider, or come to the Aiken County Health Department located at 222 Beaufort St. N.E. for post-exposure treatment on the following date and times:

• Thursday, Feb. 14, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

• Friday, Feb. 15, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

• Saturday, Feb. 16, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.