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Eighth, ninth cases of Hep A reported in Boyd County

The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department is reporting two more case of hepatitis A in food workers.

One case was diagnosed on Monday in an employee who handled food at O’Charley’s located at 461 River Hill Dr., Ashland, Kentucky. The other case was a part-time employee at Tudor’s Biscuit World in the 2000 block of Winchester Avenue in Ashland, Kentucky.

The health department found the risk for restaurant patrons becoming infected to be very low.
O’Charley’s is working with the health department to prevent any new cases from arising in the community as a result of this case. All employees will be required to receive the hepatitis A vaccine prior to returning to work.

In a statement, O’Charley’s said that as soon as the restaurant became aware of the situation, it quickly took action with Ashland-Boyd County Health Department to ensure all necessary steps were taken to guarantee the safety of the community.

The company noted all employees involved in food preparation at an O’Charley’s are required to wear gloves at all times and that the health department reviewed the restaurant’s food handling practices and did not find a need for critical action beyond establishing general awareness.

“The employee in question is on leave and will not return to work until cleared by a medical professional,” the statement said. “Additionally, all restaurant employees have been vaccinated and the Ashland restaurant remains open after being cleared by the health department earlier on (Wednesday.)”

Tudor’s Biscuit World said that May 25 was the last day their employee had worked and that they had only recently been hired.

The health department said the chance of infection was low.

The company said all employees would be required to get a hepatitis A vaccination before returning to work.

These are the eighth and ninth cases of hepatitis A at restaurants in Boyd County in recent months. The other locations included Waffle House, two Texas Roadhouse, Ken’s Express Mart, Dairy Queen, RJ Kahuna’s and McDonald’s on Winchester Avenue. All the restaurants closed temporarily to clean and workers were vaccinated before reopening.

As of May 19, Kentucky has more than 221 confirmed cases, 286 probable cases and 122 suspected cases of hepatitis A and Ashland has 72 confirmed, probable and suspected cases.