AIKEN, SC (WFXG) - Customers of a fast food restaurant in Aiken may have been exposed to hepatitis A, according to SC DHEC.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control announced Monday that customers of the Popeyes located at 954 York St. NE in Aiken may have been exposed to the virus. The agency was notified that an employee of the restaurant tested positive for the and are advising customers who ate at the restaurant between May 29 and June 12 that they may have been exposed. Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or yellowing of the eyes and skin. Peopl who have become infected will usually show symptoms within 2 to 6 weeks.
DHEC recommends any customers who ate at the Popeyes between June 4 and June 12 contact their medical provider or pharmacy about treatment. You may also visit the Aiken County Health Department from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 19, 20, and 21. Customers who ate at the restaurant between May 29 and June 3 are unlikely to benefit from post-exposure treatment.
This incident is the fourth hepatitis A exposure at restaurants in Aiken County so far in 2019. Back in February Aiken Brewing Company was the source of an outbreak, followed by City Billiards later that month, and then Teriyaki Japan in May. In all of these cases, DHEC has reiterated that these were not foodborne illnesses. In all 4 cases, an employee was the source. Aiken County is not unique in this regard; DHEC declared a state-wide hepatitis A outbreak in May.
Dr. Linda Bell, physician and state epidemiologist, says the risk of the hepatitis A virus spreading from an infected employee to customers in a restaurant is low. “The real concern in South Carolina is the spread of hepatitis A among high-risk groups and people who live with and have close contact to a person with hepatitis A,” Dr. Bell said. “DHEC has been working to vaccinate and educate people in high-risk groups to prevent a widespread outbreak.”