Dexter Huddle House owner speaks out on recent Hep A scare

Thursday, December 28, 2017

DEXTER, Mo. -- Owners of a Dexter restaurant that was at the root of a community health scare recently released details regarding the experience and are assuring local residents that their facility is up and running with business as usual.

It was confirmed in mid-December that a former employee of Dexter's Huddle House on Business 60 had tested positive for Hepatitis A after working at the restaurant just seven days. Health officials at the time advised that anyone who may have eaten at the restaurant between Nov. 21 and Dec. 2 should seek medical care if they had symptoms of Hepatitis A.

Those symptoms may include fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, joint pain and yellowing of the skin or eyes. Symptoms may develop from two to seven weeks after exposure. Health officials stated earlier there was nothing the restaurant owners, the Harwells, could have done to prevent the Hepatitis scare, adding that the owners had been "very proactive" to prevent the spread of the disease.

In a recent public statement, Danny Harwell said, "We have been blessed by the city of Dexter and their patronage over the last six months. Unfortunately, we recently had an individual work for us for seven days who had an illness that Sasha, Justin and myself were unaware of. Two weeks after he left, we were notified of this. We were inspected and cleared by the state and local health agencies."

Harwell went on to apologize to the community for the scare and assured the public that additional steps to protect both employees and customers have been taken.

"Our top priority is the safety of our customers," he stated, "and we feel we are one of the safest places to eat in Dexter. We humbly and sincerely ask and hope that we may see and serve you in the future."

No positive Hepatitis cases were confirmed in the county as of late last week. Health Center offices were closed on Tuesday.

When contacted last week, Stoddard County Health Center Public Health Program Director and RN, Amy Hector, explained that one of two tests utilized to detect Hepatitis A can be deceiving since it will generate a positive test if the patient has ever had Hepatitis A or if the patient has ever received a Hepatitis A vaccine. For a further explanation of testing or to receive additional information on the virus, contact the Health Center at 573-568-4593.

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