State officials warn public that hepatitis A identified in Keystone food handler

PIERRE, S.D. — State health officials say that a case of hepatitis A has been reported in a food handler employed at two Keystone restaurants. Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus that causes inflammation of the liver and can have mild to severe symptoms lasting weeks to months.

The virus, which is vaccine-preventable, is typically spread through the consumption of food or drinks contaminated with particles of fecal matter. In very rare cases it can be deadly.

Officials say that anyone who ate at the Keystone Subway between May 2 and May 14, or at the Keystone Turtle Town between May 6 and May 13 should contact their health care provider to determine if they need a shot of the hepatitis A vaccine, or immune globulin therapy to help decrease risk of the illness.

Symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting. Urine may become darker, and then jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and eyes) may appear.

Children under the age of six often have mild symptoms that may not be detectable.

Officials say it’s important to prevent the spread of the virus by carefully washing hands after using the restroom.

Hepatitis A vaccination has also been routinely recommended for children in South Dakota since 1999. Your health care provider can assist individuals who are unsure about their receipt of one or both doses of the recommended hepatitis A vaccine.

As the tourism season ramps up, and more people begin visiting South Dakota from out-of-state, it’s advised that residents ensure they have their vaccinations in case outbreaks occur.

More information is available about hepatitis A on the South Dakota Department of Health’s website.


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