SARASOTA - The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County announced late Friday the results of an investigation looking into a case of hepatitis A.
The epidemiological investigation "determined the individual who worked at Duval's ... may have been infectious," according to a Friday night news release.
Duval's is a popular restaurant at 1435 Main Street in Sarasota.
"The employee may have exposed patrons between April 26 through May 10," the department stated in the release. "If you frequented this restaurant during that period and have not previously been vaccinated for hepatitis A, you should consider getting vaccinated," it stated.
The Department of Health is offering the hepatitis A vaccine at its North Port and Sarasota clinics for free.
The North Port location is DOH-Sarasota, North Port, 6950 Outreach Way, North Port. Its hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursdays 8-11:30 a.m. and 1-4:30 p.m.; Tuesdays 8-11:30 a.m. and Fridays 8-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m.
"Patrons should monitor for symptoms of hepatitis A infection which include sudden onset of abdominal discomfort, dark urine, fever, diarrhea, pale white stools, and yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)," the release states. "Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention promptly."
It stated anyone who ate at Duval's can call DOH-Sarasota for hepatitis A information or to receive a vaccination during this weekend.
A first dose of hepatitis A vaccine is followed by a second six months later. Anyone who has received the vaccine in the past does not need "take additional action," it said.
"The hepatitis A vaccine may provide protection against the disease if given within two weeks after exposure," the news release stated. "Therefore, the hep A vaccine is recommended for anyone who ate, or drank at Duval's between May 3 through 10."
Anyone who lives outside Sarasota County who may have been exposed should contact their local health department, the DOH-Sarasota release said.
Hepatitis A attacks the liver with symptoms showing up without about 28 days of exposure to the virus, officials said.
Once the disease erupts, there are currently no medicines to cure it. The Department of Health notes most people recover "over time" but often need to be hospitalized.