Hepatitis A exposure possible at HHI restaurant - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Hepatitis A exposure possible at HHI restaurant

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The owner of Hudson's Seafood House On The Docks restaurant on Hilton Head Island said he and his staff are personally contacting every person who was in the restaurant on Feb. 15 to encourage them to get treatment for possible exposure to the Hepatitis A virus.

According to DHEC, the restaurant employees and customers who were there that day could have been exposed to the virus from one of Hudson's servers.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that is caused by a virus, and it's highly contagious, according to DHEC. People usually become sick within 15 to 50 days of being exposed to the virus.

According to Brian Carmines, the owner of the restaurant, his employee expressed to other co-workers that they were feeling sick and had been out of work since the 15th. Carmines said the employee was officially diagnosed with Hepatitis A last Friday.

"It's an unfortunate circumstance, I think, for everyone involved," he said.

The virus can be transmitted a number of ways; one of those ways being in close contact with a person who's infected, even if that person has no signs or symptoms. Another way is through food, if the person with the virus is handling your food and they don't carefully wash their hands after using the toilet.

"It is a highly infectious illness," said Carmines. "Again that's why the 15th is a pretty important date, both for our staff who were in contact with this individual and any customers who were here in the restaurant on the evening of the 15th."

According to DHEC, Hudson's has received an A rating for safe food service nearly every year since the restaurant first opened, more than 30 years ago.

Carmines said they have checked the food to make sure none of it was contaminated as well, and so far everything checks out.

That's good news for customers like Ray Lamoreau, who eats here 3 times a year.

"Love it here. The prices are reasonable, the service is good, and the food is excellent," he said.

According to Carmines, all of the employees  who worked on  Feb. 15 will be vaccinated on Tuesday. As for the employee with hepatitis, Carmines says it looks like they'll make a complete recovery, and will be back to work as soon as they're better.

Anyone with questions about Hepatitis A, or information on how to get the vaccine, call the DHEC hotline at 800-868-0404.

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