George County

Diners at a Lucedale restaurant may have been exposed to hepatitis A. Free shots are available.

Those who ate at a Lucedale restaurant last month may have been exposed to hepatitis A, the Mississippi Health Department warned Tuesday.

Officials are investigating after an employee who handles food at Dixie Depot Courtyard Lane Deli at 6241 Mississippi 613 in the Agricola area of Lucedale was diagnosed with hepatitis A infection.

MSDH said those who ate at the George County Restaurant between 2-10 p.m. on these dates may have been exposed:

Aug. 19-21

Aug. 23-24

Aug. 26-31

Those who think they may have been exposed can receive a hepatitis A vaccination for free on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week (Sept. 11-13) at the George County Health Department, 166 West Ratliff St. in Lucedale.

“While the risk of transmission is likely low, the management and staff of Dixie Depot are cooperating with us to prevent new illnesses as a result of this exposure,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “We recommend that anyone who ate at this restaurant during these times should consider getting a hepatitis A vaccination if they have not been previously immunized.”

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that causes fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) and abdominal pain and dark colored urine, according to MSDH. It usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool (feces) from an infected person.

People can follow information about the current hepatitis A outbreak in Mississippi at

Mary Perez is the business and casino reporter for the Sun Herald and also writes about Biloxi, jobs and the new restaurants and development coming to the Coast. She is a fourth-generation journalist.