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10th case of hep A in Ashland

Hand washing prevents spread of virus

ASHLAND, Ky. — The 10th case of a food worker with hepatitis A has been reported in Boyd County, Kentucky and the restaurant closed for cleaning.

On Wednesday, the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department said it has investigated a case of hepatitis A, diagnosed in a Callihan’s American Pub & Grill food service employee located at the KYOVA Mall on U.S. 60. The investigation found that the risk of restaurant patrons becoming infected is very low.

The restaurant is working with the health department to prevent any new cases from arising in the community as a result of this case. It closed after notification of the confirmed case to complete extensive disinfection of the facility.

“It is important for the public to understand that the hepatitis A virus has not been found to be in food from restaurants during this outbreak. Currently, the method of transmission is person-to-person,” the health department said in a press release.

“An individual has the potential of coming in contact with the hepatitis A virus in the general public and it is imperative that strict hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds be practiced immediately prior to eating, and after using restroom facilities, or touching objects such as grocery carts, door handles, gas pump handles, etc.”

The health department said that hand sanitizer does not kill the virus. It can cause an infection of the liver with loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown colored urine, and light-colored stools.

Yellowing of the skin or eyes may also appear. People may have some or none of these symptoms. It could take up to 50 days after being exposed to the virus for someone to become ill but most people experience symptoms within 28-30 days after being exposed.

Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. The virus spreads when an infected person does not wash his/her hands adequately after using the toilet or engages in behaviors that increase risk of infection.