Indiana Taco Bell Warns Customers After Worker Diagnosed With Hepatitis A

A southern Indiana Taco Bell is warning customers after a worker was diagnosed with Hepatitis A amid outbreaks in neighboring states.

Taco Bell said in a statement that customers who ate at the Floyds Knobs location between April 1 and April 18 should follow guidance from Floyd County health officials.

That guidance, according to NBC affiliate WTHR, includes getting a Hepatitis A vaccine before April 30 to reduce the chance of infection.

“As soon as the operator of this Floyds Knobs, IN location learned that one of the team members was diagnosed, the franchisee began working closely with Taco Bell as well as health officials,” the statement read. “The restaurant was thoroughly sanitized and all team members will be offered vaccinations.”

The Taco Bell isn’t the first case reported in the state after significant outbreaks were seen in nearby Kentucky and Michigan.

The Floyd County Health Department said it was investigating “several recent cases of Hepatitis A” and was working to identify and notify anyone who might have been exposed.

Another case was confirmed in a food employee at TOMOS Restaurant in New Albany, Indiana. Those who ate at the restaurant on March 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31 and April 2 were urged to watch for potential symptoms and seek medical attention.

Indiana health officials are also advising residents to get vaccinated for hepatitis A if their summer plans include visits to Kentucky or Michigan.

The agency says Kentucky has seen more than 300 cases of the highly contagious viral infection , most of those in the Louisville area. Michigan has had more than 800 cases, including 25 deaths.

Indiana typically sees less than 20 hepatitis cases each year, but 77 have been confirmed since January.

Hepatitis A is a “highly contagious” viral infection of the liver and is generally transmitted via fecal and oral routes or by consuming contaminated food or water, health officials said. People can become ill 15 to 150 days after being exposed to the virus.

Symptoms can vary greatly, but may include loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach ache, dark-colored urine and light-colored stools. Jaundice may appear a few days after the onset of such symptoms, health officials said.

Most people feel sick for several weeks but often recover without lasting liver damage, according to the health department.

State Epidemiologist Pam Pontones says getting vaccinated for hepatitis A and thoroughly washing hands when preparing food are “simple, safe and effective ways” to prevent the spread of hepatitis A.

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