Vicksburg restaurant owner worried hepatitis A scare will ruin business: ‘My restaurant is almost empty’

Vicksburg restaurant owner worried hepatitis A scare will ruin business: ‘My restaurant is almost empty’

VICKSBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - The owner of the Gumbo Pot in Vicksburg says he is losing business after an employee was diagnosed with hepatitis A.

Free vaccinations were offered Monday for those who might have been exposed to the virus. They will also be available Tuesday.

"We don't want this to ruin my name or my legacy as a business owner or a restaurant owner," said Perry Boyd.

The Gumbo Pot owner says business has been slow since news broke about an employee was diagnosed with the disease and he is not happy about it.

“My restaurant is almost empty right now,” said Boyd.

Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness. It’s transmitted through the ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person.

“It is a virus from an infected person that is shed in the stool, so it actually transmitted from person-to-person that way," explained Dr. Paul Byers with Mississippi State Department of Health. “It affects the liver and it could make people they can make people pretty sick.”

According to Boyd, he reported the issue to health officials after he found out from the infected employee.

“The employee went out of town and then came back. She was sick and we sent her home and we never let her work. She went to the ER that night and that’s when she was tested with hepatitis A. Nothing here was spread. That’s why we went with the measures of going to the health department to make sure we have the right proper inspections done," said Boyd.

“For those people who if they went to the restaurant the first thing is, we suspect the risk of transmission be very low,” says Dr. Paul Byers.

Health officials says it is still crucial to notify the public about what happened and make sure they are protected. They say people who ate at the Gumbo Pot on January 17th, 18th and 22nd should consider getting a free hepatitis A vaccination at the Warren County Health Department.

“We want to make sure they’re protected and offer them vaccines if they have not previously been vaccinated. But, again, the risk of transmission is very low,” said Boyd.

Some of the symptoms of hepatitis A include: fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain and dark colored urine.

The free vaccinations in Warren County will be offered Tuesday from 8 a.m to 5 p.m.

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