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Health department investigating Hep A case at Ashland, Ky. restaurant – WSAZ

ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) – The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department is investigating a case involving a food preparation worker at Texas Roadhouse diagnosed with hepatitis A.

The window of possible exposure is March 20 through April 12, 2018.

The restaurant is located in the 500 block of Winchester Road.

According to a press release from the health department, the employee prepared only fried food (appetizers and entrees) during the infectious period.

It goes on to say, “Texas Roadhouse would like the public to know that the infected individual did not have any contact with bread, salads or desserts.”

Health officials say, because the food was fried at a temperature greater than 185 degrees, the potential exposure is in the “low risk” category.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says it can take up to 50 days from exposure for a person to develop symptoms.

If you have been exposed, there is a two-week window to receive the hepatitis A vaccine. After those two weeks have passed, the vaccine may not be effective in preventing the virus.

So in this case, the last date for the post-exposure vaccine is April 26.

Anyone who wants to avoid getting the disease should get the vaccine as a preventative measure, health officials say.

Officials with the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department say Texas Roadhouse Corporate and local staff have cooperated fully with the local and state health officials.

Employees are only allowed to work if they have received the hepatitis A vaccine, according to the press release.

Texas Roadhouse released the following statement on the health department’s press release:

“Texas Roadhouse is committed to the health and safety of our employees and guests and working closely with the health department. The health department has stated that this is a very low-risk exposure. In addition, all Texas Roadhouse employees are required to wear gloves. Also, as an added precaution, no employee will be allowed to work until they receive a vaccination or show proof that they have been vaccinated. Texas Roadhouse is providing the vaccination to all employees. In addition to the shots, we have set-up a dedicated toll-free phone line for those who may have questions or issues. we encourage our guests and the public to reach out at 1-844-617-8241 from 8 am to 8 pm ET.”

The press release also provided the following information about hepatitis A from the CDC:

“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.

Hepatitis A is a robust virus that can live for months outside of the human body. It is very difficult to kill and most common cleaning fluids are not effective against the virus. Handwashing with soap and water is needed. Waterless hand sanitizers are also not effective at killing the hepatitis A virus. See links:



http://chfs.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/6523BEA9-D794-4B10-8A2E-A017DCBAACB6/0/HepatitisASanitationKY.pdf

http://chfs.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/0316E95C-FADC-41A1-8A11-373BA0803DE7/0/HAVOutbreakFAQs_Facilities.pdf

The most common risk factors for hepatitis A are: traveling to a country where hepatitis A is common, being in the same household as or having sexual contact with a person with hepatitis A, being a man who has sex with men, and using illicit drugs whether injected or not.

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

Anyone with possible exposure and not experiencing symptoms is encouraged to contact their healthcare provider, pharmacy or the health department for a post-exposure hepatitis A vaccine.

For many the Hepatitis A vaccine is covered through insurance as a preventive service. Individuals should contact their insurance provider to determine if their insurance will cover the vaccine. Private physicians, pharmacies, same day clinics and etc. should have vaccine available.”

Article source: http://www.wsaz.com/content/news/Health-department-investigating-Hep-A-case-at-Ashland-restaurant-479664923.html