Possible hepatitis A exposure reported in Fort Smith, vaccination clinics set

Arkansas health officials issued a warning on Wednesday about a possible hepatitis A outbreak at a Red Lobster after a worker was revealed to have contracted the virus

Arkansas health officials issued a warning on Wednesday about a possible hepatitis A outbreak at a Red Lobster after a worker was revealed to have contracted the virus

An employee tested positive for the virus.

The Arkansas Department of Health is warning anyone who may have eaten at the Fort Smith Red Lobster on Rogers Avenue between July 19 and August 4 should seek vaccination immediately if they have never received a hepatitis A vaccine.

The ADH is now advising those who exhibit symptoms of hepatitis A - which include but are not limited to "fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting" and even jaundice - to seek medical treatment, though not everyone with the condition shows symptoms.

The case does not appear to be a part of the outbreak in Northeast Arkansas that has resulted in the infection of 80 people and one death. However, if it has been more than two weeks since potential exposure but symptoms have not yet developed, the vaccine may still be given.

Vaccination clinics are planned in Sebastian County, and shots will be provided at no cost, health officials said. People getting the vaccing should bring their insurance cards and driver's licenses if they have them and enter from the west side of the park near the Parrot Island entrance, according to the news release. Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek help immediately. The hep A vaccine is safe and effective. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Vaccines are also available at many pharmacies and doctor's offices.

Hepatitis A is a contagious and potentially fatal, but treatable, liver disease which can cause illness two to seven weeks after exposure. Symptoms include fever, nausea and jaundice. These behaviors have likely reduced the risk of illness to the public.

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