Hepatitis A cases continue to increase in Roanoke

VDH said the area averages less than 4 cases per year, but in 2022, the area has had 77 reported cases

ROANOKE, Va. – Since last September’s Hepatitis A outbreak in Roanoke, there have been 131 reported cases, and of those, 77 have been reported since January 1, 2022.

For perspective, VDH said the area typically averages 2 to 4 Hepatitis A cases per year.

The majority of Hepatitis A cases are in those unhoused, incarcerated, or who have a substance abuse disorder and use injection drugs.

But in the past year, there have been outbreaks linked to restaurants.

The most recent case in a restaurant was at Billy’s Restaurant when an employee tested positive for Hepatitis A in early July. In that case, the VDH did not recommend the vaccine for patrons.

“We have had a total of four restaurant workers who have been identified as having Hepatitis A,” said Dr. Cynthia Morrow, Director of the Roanoke City & Alleghany Health District. “We just need to look at the risk factors that individuals have. Restaurant workers don’t have an increased risk of exposure based on their occupation, but we have to look at any individual and what risk factors they may have.”

The Roanoke City Health Department is offering free doses of hepatitis A vaccine to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last at the Roanoke Health Department on Williamson Road.

About the Author

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.

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