Health Department: Food Service Employee Worked While Having Hepatitis A

BOYD COUNTY, KY (WOWK) – The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department is investigating one case involving the diagnosis of Hepatitis A in a food service worker at both Waffle House locations in Boyd County, Kentucky.

According to a release from the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department, the single employee worked at each location during the infectious period.

The window of possible exposure was February 12 – 28, 2018.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states it can take up to 50 days from exposure to hepatitis A for symptoms to develop.

Waffle House restaurant owner and employees have cooperated fully with the local and state health officials to identify all employee contacts. In addition, Waffle House seeks to notify patrons of the potential exposure that occurred to Hepatitis A.

Waffle House employees are receiving post-exposure Hepatitis A injections.

“Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is usually transmitted person-to-person through the fecal-oral route or consumption of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A is a self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection. Most adults with hepatitis A have symptoms, including fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and jaundice, that usually resolve within 2 months of infection; most children less than 6 years of age do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection. Antibodies produced in response to hepatitis A infection last for life and protect against reinfection. The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated”, says the CDC.

There is a two-week window for an exposed individual to receive the Hepatitis A vaccine.

After the two week period the post-exposure vaccine is not effective. The last date for the post-exposure vaccine is March 13, 2018.

Anyone who is experiencing symptoms should immediately contact their physician or seek other medical attention.

Anyone with a possible exposure and not experiencing symptoms is encouraged to receive a Hepatitis A post-exposure vaccine from their healthcare provider. Most insurance plans will pay for the Hepatitis A vaccine.

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