The Mississippi State Department of Health is reporting that customers may have been exposed to hepatitis A at Huddle House on Chantilly Street after an employee worked there while infected from Jan. 26-29.

The department is urging customers who ate there to get vaccinated if they haven’t previously been. Those exposed customers can receive a free hep A vaccination today (Thursday) and Friday at the Jones County Health Department, 5168 Old Highway 11, Ellisville.

“It is unlikely that hepatitis A was transmitted to any customers from this particular case, but as a precaution, we do recommend the hep A vaccine for anyone who ate (at Huddle House),” said MDH epidemiologist Paul Byers. “The management and staff of this restaurant are fully cooperating with our investigation in order to prevent illnesses as a result of this exposure.”

Hepatitis A is a contagious disease of the liver typically causing jaundice, abdominal pain, fever, vomiting and diarrhea, among other symptoms. It typically spreads via trace amounts of feces on food and drinks. Washing hands and beneath fingernails after using the restroom can prevent its spread.

The MDH is investigating a statewide outbreak of the virus since April 2019. The outbreak is mainly affecting high-risk groups like drug users, current and former prison inmates, the homeless and men engaged in homosexual acts. The MDH recommends people in these groups to be vaccinated.

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