Ashland has another Hep A case

Published 9:17 am Sunday, April 15, 2018

Texas Roadhouse worker prepared fried foods, low risk for exposure

ASHLAND — The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department is investigating another case of a food worker with a Hepatitis A diagnosis.

This time, the worker was an employee at Texas Roadhouse, 501 Winchester Road, Ashland, Ky.

The health department said there is a low risk of infection because the single employee was involved with only fried food, such as appetizers and entrees, during the infectious period.

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The food was fried at a temperature greater than 185 degrees F, therefore, making the potential exposure in the “low risk” category.

Texas Roadhouse assured the public that the infected individual did not have any contact with bread, salads or desserts.

The window of possible exposure was March 20-April 12. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states it can take up to 50 days from exposure to hepatitis A for symptoms to develop.

Texas Roadhouse Corporate and local management and employees have cooperated fully with the local and state health officials to identify all employee contacts. Employees are only allowed to work if they have received the Hepatitis A vaccine.

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

Hepatitis A vaccine given more than 14 days after a known exposure to hepatitis A virus may not be effective in preventing hepatitis A disease due to a recent exposure.

In addition, persons in the community who wish to prevent hepatitis A disease from a future exposure should be immunized as a preventive measure. The last date for the post-exposure vaccine is April 26.

This is the third recent case of a food worker in Boyd County having Hepatitis A.

Health officials say an employee prepared food at Ken’s Express Mart in Ashland and worked from March 22 through April 7 while contagious.

In March, a worker who worked at two Waffle House locations, one in Ashland and one in Catlettsburg, was diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

According to Food Safety News, Kentucky has been hit hard by a Hepatitis A outbreak, logging more than 100 cases and at least one death since November 2017.

According to the Centers for Disease Control: 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.