Loudoun County health officials say an employee at Señor Ramon restaurant at 22455 Davis Dr. in Sterling has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. As a result, anyone who ate at the restaurant from July 10 through July 26 may have been exposed to the virus.
Management at Señor Ramon notified the Loudoun County Health Department about the situation and has been complying with all requests, according to county officials, who added that there is no indication of any food products at Señor Ramon being the source of infection. Additionally, there is no indication that patrons at other locations were affected.
Anyone who has not been vaccinated for hepatitis A, nor had the disease in the past, is susceptible to infection.
Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. The classic symptom is jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or eyes. Other symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools. Symptoms develop 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus, which can occur through direct contact with another person who has the infection or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus. People are at increased risk of acquiring hepatitis A when they have been in close and continuous contact with an infected individual, particularly in a household or day care setting, according to health officials.
While vaccination is not considered helpful more than 14 days after exposure, county officials say it is still important to contact your medical provider to be evaluated if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, even after two weeks have elapsed. Anyone with symptoms of hepatitis A is urged to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service, health care or childcare.
Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.
Routine vaccination against hepatitis A has reduced the risk of this disease in the past decade.
More information can be found at vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/hepatitis-a/.