CONTOOCOOK, N.H. (CBS) — Carrie Williams is healthy again, after suffering from hepatitis A and spending nine days in the hospital.
“I have never felt so ill in my life,” said Williams. “I’ve had double mastectomy surgery, I had my ovaries taken out. And I was more afraid of what was happening to my body with hepatitis A then I was then.”
Williams, 38, and her roommate worked at the Covered Bridge Restaurant in Contoocook, New Hampshire.
Both women somehow contracted hepatitis A, a virus that can attack the liver.
The diagnosis led health officials to hold a news conference alerting restaurant customers of a potential health risk, and the names of who was causing the crisis quickly spread in this small town.
“It scares people, the way it was presented is that if you talk to me you’re going to get hepatitis A,” said Williams.
State health officials set up special vaccination clinics, and urged patrons who had visited the restaurant in late July and early August to get vaccinated. More than 1,200 people did so.
“They had big DOT signs on the highway that said hepatitis A clinics, exit 6,” said Williams. “They made a really big situation out of it.”
Nobody else was ever diagnosed with hepatitis A, and Williams, a mother of two, believes the frenzy was unnecessary.
“In our business, when you’re a bartender, you wash your hands 40 billion times a shift,” said Williams.
Now with a clean bill of health, she’s rebuilding professionally and personally. She has signed on with a temporary staffing agency, and friends who stayed away are slowly coming back.
“You do find out who your friends are,” said Williams.
Donna Walter, the restaurant’s owner, says business is getting better and wants people to know the women contracted the illness outside the restaurant.
“There were zero problems here,” said Walter, who is thankful to her customers for returning. “Health professionals eat here.”
Williams believes her roommate, who was diagnosed first, contracted the illness while traveling.