Customers who ate at a northeast Columbia Hardee’s between June 4 and June 20 may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

DHEC notified the public Monday that an employee of the Hardee’s at 451 Killian Road, tested positive for hepatitis A. Currently, DHEC is working with Hardee’s to investigate possible exposures and provide guidance for preventative treatment for anyone who may be affected.

Representatives from DHEC specified that the concern is not with the restaurant itself, but rather the food handler who has the hepatitis A infection. An individual can spread the virus up to two weeks before they know they are sick. The risk of hepatitis A spreading from an infected employee to customers is low, according to the notice. Hardee’s has complied with DHEC recommendations for cleaning and vaccination of employees.

Post-exposure vaccination should be considered for individuals who have not been vaccinated, if they can receive the shot within two weeks from their date of consuming anything from the restaurant. Patrons who were potentially exposed can visit the Richland County Health Department (2000 Hampton St.) from noon to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, and Thursday. No appointment is necessary.

As of Monday, customers and staff who ate at the restaurant between June 4 and 9 are not likely to benefit from post-exposure treatment, according to DHEC. Any customers who ate food from the restaurant during that time should watch for symptoms of infection including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, belly paint of yellowing of the eyes and skin. People usually become sick within two to six weeks post-exposure. Seek medical attention if any symptoms should develop.

Any restaurant patrons with questions may contact DHEC’s care line at 1-855-4SC-DHEC (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

Categories: Business, Columbia, Richland County

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