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Thousands Exposed To Hepatitis A At Missouri Red Robin

As many as 5,000 people could have been exposed to hepatitis A after eating at a Red Robin restaurant in Springfield, Missouri.
Posted at 9:17 AM, May 22, 2014

Thousands of people might have been exposed to a highly contagious liver infection at a Springfield, Missouri, Red Robin restaurant.

"A health scare at a Missouri restaurant after a worker was diagnosed with hepatitis A. Officials say as many as 5,000 people could have been exposed to the virus, which can affect the liver." (Via Fox News)

According to a statement released by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, the infected employee last worked on May 16, and the Red Robin has since been declared safe after a thorough inspection.

It's unclear which part of the restaurant the employee in question worked in. But health officials are urging anyone who ate there between May 8 and 16 to get a hepatitis A vaccine.

"It scared me because my husband's been sick, and when I saw that a lot of his symptoms match the symptoms of that, a red flag just went off, and I'm like, 'What do I do from here?'" (Via KOLR)

Officials told the Springfield News-Leader they worked with both state and federal officials to set up several immunization clinics so anyone who went to the restaurant during that time period can vaccinated as soon as possible.

"The clock is ticking. By the end of the month, that 14 days, his last day of work was the 16th, so that 14 days will be up. So you have to give it two weeks after exposure." (Via KSPR)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis A is a highly contagious infection that inflames the liver. It is usually transmitted by contaminated food or water, or by someone who is infected.

Symptoms include fever, nausea and abdominal pain. Health officials say mild cases normally clear up within a few weeks — but more severe cases could last months and even be fatal. (Via KYTV)

Officials are encouraging people in the area to watch for symptoms and to call the health department if they have any questions.