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The state Department of Health is warning customers who recently ate at a northeast Arkansas Steak 'n' Shake that they may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

An employee of the eatery at 2307 E. Parker Road in Jonesboro has tested positive for the disease, agency spokeswoman Meg Mirivel said Tuesday. Anyone who has not been vaccinated and ate at the restaurant between 4 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. June 3 should see a doctor immediately, according to Mirivel.

The virus can cause illness up to seven weeks after it is contracted, but it can be prevented even after exposure by getting a vaccine, a news release from the department states. The immunization works best if given within two weeks of exposure, so anyone who ate at the restaurant will need the treatment by June 17.

The Craighead County local health unit in Jonesboro is organizing a walk-in vaccination clinic from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The Greene County health unit will also provide free vaccinations from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Mirivel said.

Since February, 32 cases of hepatitis A have been reported as part of an outbreak in northeast Arkansas, according to the agency. Cases have been primarily seen in Clay and Greene counties but also in Lawrence, Randolph and Craighead counties. All of the cases have been in adults.

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