Department Of Health Warns Of Hepatitis In Neighboring Tourist Destination

By Staff 7-12,1016

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is alerting Wyoming residents who recently traveled to western South Dakota about a Hepatitis A case associated with a local pizza restaurant.

A food handler at the Pizza Works restaurant in Custer, South Dakota was confirmed to have Hepatitis A, according to the South Dakota Department of Health.

Dr. Tracy Murphy, state epidemiologist with WDH, said Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a virus. “The virus can be carried on an infected person’s hands and spread by direct contact, or by consuming food or drink handled by the ill individual,” he said.

Persons who ate at the restaurant between June 19 and July 5 should contact their healthcare provider to see if they would benefit from treatment to lower their chances of becoming ill, which is especially helpful within two weeks of eating at the restaurant.

“We want Wyoming residents who may have traveled to this nearby community to be aware of the situation because it is in a popular recreational area near our state,” Murphy said.

Symptoms may include fatigue, poor appetite, fever, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting. Urine may become darker, and then jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and eyes) may appear. The disease is rarely fatal and most people recover in a few weeks without complications. Infants and young children tend to have very mild symptoms and are less likely to develop jaundice than older children and adults. Not everyone who is infected will have all symptoms.

Murphy said ways to prevent the spread of hepatitis A include careful handwashing after using the toilet, keeping persons with jaundice or other hepatitis symptoms from working in food handling, and vaccination against Hepatitis A.

Individuals who believe they may have been exposed at the restaurant and have questions may also contact Murphy or Tiffany Lupcho at WDH by calling 1-877-996-9000.