Health officials warn patrons of Dalton restaurant about possible hepatitis A exposure

Restaurant report card tile

Anyone who ate at the Crescent City Tavern in Dalton, Georgia, last month should be on alert for symptoms associated with hepatitis A, health authorities say.

A restaurant worker who handled food from Dec. 28 through Jan. 31 was recently diagnosed with the viral infection, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Hepatitis A can spread through food or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of feces from an infected person.

Symptoms include nausea, fatigue, fever, stomach pains, diarrhea, jaundice, dark urine and light-colored feces. Anyone who ate at the restaurant should be on alert for 50 days.

There is no treatment for hepatitis A, but if you were recently exposed and have not been vaccinated, you may benefit from getting vaccinated.

The hepatitis A vaccine is safe, highly effective and available at the Whitfield County Health Department - located at 800 Professional Blvd. in Dalton - at no out-of-pocket cost, regardless of insurance status.

People who think they may have been exposed to hepatitis A should contact a health care provider or your local or state health department.

If diagnosed with the infection, doctors advise rest, adequate nutrition and fluids. Some individuals may require supportive care through hospitalization to manage the symptoms.

The North Georgia Health District, which oversees six counties - Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens, Whitfield - has seen a recent uptick in hepatitis A cases.

The district had one confirmed case of hepatitis A from Jan. 1, 2018, to Sept. 30, 2018. From Oct. 1, 2018, to now, 15 cases were confirmed in the district.

Tennessee is experiencing its own outbreak of hepatitis A.

Between Dec. 1, 2017, and Feb. 1, nearly 800 cases, 490 hospitalizations and 3 deaths due to hepatitis A were reported, according to the Tennessee Department of Health website.

Hamilton County's hepatitis A outbreak started in May 2018. Since then, 92 cases have been confirmed in the county, according to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department website that was updated on Feb. 5. The county normally sees none or one case of hepatitis A per year.

Contact staff writer Elizabeth Fite at [email protected] or 423-757-6673.