The death toll from a hepatitis A outbreak linked to a small restaurant chain in Virginia has now risen to four.
According to Food Safety News, another person died after being infected with the virus at a Famous Anthony restaurant in Roanoke Valley. The victim, Larry Vest, had been battling liver disease since first contracting the infection in October 2021. His wife, also infected, died in the fall.
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The outbreak was first announced by Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts (RCAHD) Director Cynthia Morrow, MD, MPH on October 12. Williamson Road and 2221 Crystal Spring Ave.—where an infected employee worked between August 10 and August 27, 2021.
More than 50 people are now known to have been infected as part of the outbreak and around 30 have been hospitalized due to the severity of their illness. Four people have died, with the first death confirmed on October 18.
Larry Vest’s family has hired food safety attorney Bill Marler to represent them in a case against Famous Anthony’s, and they’re not alone. Marler would represent up to two dozen other families in the outbreak, according to reports.
Hepatitis A is a liver infection frequently caused by fecal particles that contaminate food, water, surfaces and objects and are then inadvertently consumed. Infected people can be contagious for up to two weeks before showing symptoms, while in some cases it takes up to 50 days for symptoms to develop.
However, hepatitis A is easily preventable with a vaccine. Another way to make sure hepatitis A doesn’t spread is to practice good hand hygiene.
“Washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water after using the toilet, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A,” RCAHD representatives noted. , adding that contact with infected people can also spread the disease.
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