New hepati­tis case found in Jones­boro

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - RELIGION - ANDY DAVIS

Cus­tomers of a cat­fish restau­rant in Jones­boro be­came the lat­est fo­cus of a warn­ing on Wednesday by state health of­fi­cials about pos­si­ble ex­po­sure to hepati­tis A.

Cit­ing a Mur­dock’s Cat­fish em­ployee’s re­cent di­ag­no­sis with the liver dis­ease, the Depart­ment of Health urged peo­ple who ate at the restau­rant from Sept. 27 to Oct. 5 to seek vac­ci­na­tions im­me­di­ately if they have never been im­mu­nized or aren’t sure whether they have been.

The depart­ment will of­fer the vac­cine in Jones­boro from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to­day at the Earl Bell Com­mu­nity Cen­ter at 1212 S. Church St.

Peo­ple should have their in­sur­ance cards and driver’s li­censes, but will not have to pay out of pocket for the shot, the depart­ment said.

The restau­rant worker is one of 158 peo­ple in north­east­ern and eastern Arkansas who have been di­ag­nosed with the dis­ease since Fe­bru­ary, in­clud­ing one who died, the depart­ment said.

At least 70 cases have been in Greene County, where the depart­ment has urged all res­i­dents ages 19-60 and all food han­dlers to seek vac­ci­na­tion.

The depart­ment has also rec­om­mended the vac­cine for all food han­dlers in Craig­head and Clay coun­ties, which have each had at least 30 cases.

Cases have also been re­ported in Arkansas, In­de­pen­dence, Lawrence, Lee, Mis­sis­sippi, Mon­roe, Phillips, Poin­sett and Ran­dolph coun­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol, the out­break is one of sev­eral across the coun­try that have af­fected pri­mar­ily drug users and home­less peo­ple.

The dis­ease is typ­i­cally con­tracted when a per­son in­gests small amounts of fe­cal mat­ter. Al­though a per­son may feel sick for months, most peo­ple re­cover com­pletely and will not have any last­ing liver dam­age, the depart­ment said.

Typical symp­toms in­clude fever, fa­tigue, loss of ap­petite, nausea, ab­dom­i­nal pain, dark urine, clay-col­ored bowel move­ments, joint pain or jaun­dice.

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