‘It is devastating’: Hepatitis A outbreak linked to third death in Virginia 

As much of the nation remains intently focused on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, other diseases continue to pose their own serious threats.

According to reports, three individuals are now dead in Virginia in what officials describe as a localized Hepatitis A outbreak linked back to a Roanoke restaurant chain.

“A high rate of severe disease”

Late Friday afternoon, the Roanoke City and Allegheny Health District announced the latest death due to complications brought about by such an infection.

Earlier the same morning, health officials revealed that a second individual died from the outbreak traced back to Sept. 24 at Famous Anthony’s restaurant.

The first such death was reported on Oct. 15 and involved an individual with underlying health conditions who suffered complications from the infection.

As WSET reported, RCAHD Health Director Cynthia Morrow offered a statement on Friday in the wake of the second confirmed death.

“We grieve the loss of this second individual, who was loved by friends and family,” she said. “It is devastating that we have seen a high rate of severe disease associated with this outbreak.”

“Their symptoms have continued to progress”

Just hours later, Morrow issued another statement expressing “extreme sadness” over the news of yet another death.

“This heartbreaking loss of life illustrates how serious this outbreak is,” she added. “Unfortunately, in this situation, we have seen many individuals experiencing severe disease, and in some cases, their symptoms have continued to progress over weeks.”

As of Friday, health officials confirmed at least 49 cases linked to the outbreak, including 31 hospitalizations in addition to the three deaths. Some suspected cases remain under investigation but the Roanoke Times noted that no new cases had been reported this week.

One of the diagnosed cases was a Famous Anthony’s employee who worked at three separate locations of the local chain. Health officials advised anyone who had been to those locations between mid- and late-August to be aware of potential symptoms.

Local news outlets reminded the general public that a vaccine is available. Although the outbreak has already been associated with three deaths, officials are hopeful that all associated cases have been identified to halt the further spread of the disease.

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