Up to 5,000 exposed to hepatitis in Springfield Red Robin

Thursday, May 22, 2014 | 2:34 p.m. CDT; updated 4:35 p.m. CDT, Thursday, May 22, 2014

SPRINGFIELD — Immunizations are being offered for up to 5,000 people who might have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus at a Springfield restaurant.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced Wednesday that the Red Robin restaurant, at 3720 S. Glenstone Ave., reported on Tuesday that a worker had the liver disease.

Anyone who visited the restaurant between May 8 and Friday can receive the immunization Thursday and Friday at a Remington's restaurant at 1655 W. Republic Road and at the Smith Glynn Callway Clinic from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday through Monday.

Officials said customers must be vaccinated within 14 days of their possible exposure, or the vaccination won't work, The Springfield News-Leader reported.

Kathryn Wall, a spokeswoman for the health department, said people may have been exposed to the disease before May 8, although she could not estimate how many.

"There is a possibility of exposure as early as (May 4)," Wall said. "Those individuals should monitor their health and report symptoms to their health care providers."

Health officials said the Red Robin is now safe to visit.

Allyson Tuckness and her husband, Chris, ate at Red Robin on May 16, with their toddler, Mason. She said their son has already had vaccinations against hepatitis A.

"I'm annoyed that it happened but glad we found out during the incubation period," Tuckness said.

Kelly Lister, of Springfield, said she is scared after eating at the restaurant May 16 with several relatives.

"It's a pretty contagious thing," Lister said.

"I'm relieved my kids were in school that day, so they weren't with us," she said.

Hepatitis A infects the liver, and can result in a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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