At least three people in Virginia died in connection to a hepatitis A outbreak linked to the Famous Anthony’s restaurant chain, officials said.
“This heartbreaking loss of life illustrates how serious this outbreak is,” Cynthia Morrow, the health district director for the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts (RCAHD), said in a news release last week. “Unfortunately, in this situation, we have seen many individuals experiencing severe disease, and in some cases, their symptoms have continued to progress over weeks.”
The statement after Morrow confirmed two deaths in connection to the outbreak, according to a statement from her office.
“We grieve the loss of this second individual, who was loved by friends and family,” Morrow added. “It is devastating that we have seen a high rate of severe disease associated with this outbreak.”
RCAHD said that there have been a total of 49 cases of hepatitis A in connection to the Roanoke outbreak. Thirty-one of those cases have resulted in hospitalizations, officials said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, hepatitis A is a “highly contagious liver infection” caused by a viral infection. “You’re most likely to get hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with a person or object that’s infected. Mild cases of hepatitis A don’t require treatment. Most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage,” the organization’s website says.
Symptoms include vomiting and nausea, low-grade fever, fatigue, yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes—known as jaundice, itching, dark urine, and joint pain. Generally, symptoms are usually mild and go away after several weeks, although a severe hepatitis A infection can last months, according to the website.
People who are at higher risk of severe infections include drug users, homeless people, people who are incarcerated or were recently incarcerated, and those with chronic liver diseases, health officials have said.
The Epoch Times contacted Famous Anthony’s for comment.