SC Waffle House may have exposed customers to hepatitis A, health officials say

A South Carolina restaurant could have exposed customers to hepatitis A, state health officials say.

The virus may have spread to anyone eating at a Waffle House in Goose Creek from Aug. 24 through Sept. 13, the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said Tuesday in a news release.

The alert came after worker at the Goose Creek Boulevard restaurant tested positive for the disease, according to DHEC.

“This illness is not a foodborne outbreak,” officials said in the release. “The concern is not the restaurant. It is with a food handler who has hepatitis A infection, and they can spread the virus up to two weeks before they know they are sick.”

DHEC says there’s a “low” risk of hepatitis A spreading inside a restaurant.

Still, customers who were possibly exposed can visit the Goose Creek Health Department or get post-exposure vaccines if it’s “within two weeks from their date of consuming anything from the restaurant,” officials say.

The potential exposure isn’t the first one announced in South Carolina recently.

Earlier this year, officials in just over one month reported six restaurants where diners “might have been exposed to hepatitis A.”

South Carolina declared an outbreak of the virus on May 13, and 409 cases have been reported since November, according to the recent DHEC news release.

Officials say the virus is a “contagious liver disease” that causes symptoms of “nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, belly pain or yellowing of the eyes and skin.” Residents should talk to their doctors about getting vaccinated, according to the state.

Goose Creek is in Berkeley County, about 18 miles northwest of Charleston.

The Waffle House in DHEC’s announcement is on U.S. Highway 52, between U.S. 176 and U.S. 78.

Related stories from Kansas City Star