How serious is hepatitis A? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

How serious is hepatitis A?

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) -

How serious is hepatitis A?

That's the question on the minds of some customers and employees of Hudson's Seafood House on the Docks restaurant. More than 300 of them were exposed to the virus on February 15 by one of the restaurant's servers.

The good news is, compared to hepatitis B and C, hepatitis A isn't as serious.

But, for those who don't have the vaccine, doctors are recommending you get it as soon as possible.

You could be exposed to it and never know it, especially if you have young children, because children who get it never show symptoms, and they're a lot more infectious than adults.

Hepatitis A is an oral virus. Dr. Amanda Parks said that most people get it from eating contaminated food.  South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said vaccines are a step toward prevention.

"It's two shots, six months apart," said Parks. "The reason why is because you're probably exposed to hepatitis A more times than you're aware."

According to Parks, that's one of the differences between Hepatitis A, B and C. One other difference is hepatitis B and C are blood born viruses.

"So you get that through things like sharing needles, sexual contact and stuff like that," she said.

People diagnosed with hepatitis B could have it for the rest of their lives.

"Hepatitis A is something that if you're a healthy adult, you'll get over it," said Parks. "You'll feel bad for a couple of weeks, but then you get over it."

Brian Carmines, the owner of Hudson's Seafood House on the Docks, said that seems to be the case with the employee who was diagnosed with hepatitis A last Friday.

"That individual's prognosis is good for a complete recovery, so that's some good news," he said.

According to Carmines, all of the employees who worked with the infected employee on Feb. 15 were vaccinated on Tuesday. They're encouraging all of the customers who were there that day to go and get vaccinated as well.

"We urge anyone to get the hepatitis A vaccination," said Parks.  

If you have not gotten the vaccination, you can contact your doctor to see if they do it there. Most private practice doctors don't, so if yours doesn't, you can get the vaccination at the health department. The shot costs about $50.

Copyright 2014 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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