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The state Department of Health on Thursday issued an alert about another Jonesboro restaurant employee who has been diagnosed with hepatitis A.

This time, however, the department said it learned of the diagnosis too late to offer a special vaccination clinic to people who ate at the restaurant, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen at 2123 Stadium Blvd., while the infected person was working.

Instead, the department said in a news release that people who ate at the restaurant on Dec. 22 or Dec. 23 should seek care immediately if they develop symptoms of the disease.

The symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, throwing up, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain or yellowing of the skin or eyes.

The vaccine can prevent infection if given within two weeks of exposure. Although that window has passed, people who ate at the restaurant and others at risk of exposure can seek vaccination from the Craighead County health unit, the department said.

The restaurant worker is one of 250 people in northeast Arkansas who have been diagnosed with the disease, including two who died, since February.

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

The disease affects the liver and is typically spread when a person ingests small amounts of fecal matter.

Although people may feel sick for months, most recover completely and will not have any lasting liver damage, the department said.

The department offered the vaccine at the Craighead County unit last Friday and Saturday after the diagnosis of a worker at the On the Border restaurant at 2324 Red Wolf Blvd. in Jonesboro. It recommended vaccination for people who ate there between Dec. 13 and Dec. 27.

Metro on 01/11/2019

Print Headline: Hepatitis infects 2nd Arkansas restaurant worker

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