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Yet another Hep A case at Boyd County restaurant

The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department is reporting its 11th case of hepatitis A this year.

The health department reported on Wednesday that a food service worker at My Dad’s Pizza was diagnosed with the virus.

“The investigation found that the risk of restaurant patrons becoming infected is very low,” the health department said in a press release. “My Dad’s Pizza is working with the health department to prevent any new cases from arising in the community as a result of this case.”

The restaurant in the KYOVA Mall on U.S. 60 was temporarily closed after notification of the confirmed case to complete extensive disinfection of the facility. Any employee who has not been previously vaccinated will be required to receive the hepatitis A vaccine prior to returning to work.

This is the third case of food service worker at the KYOVA Mall contracting hepatitis A. Cases have previously been reported at Callihan’s American Pub & Grill in June and at RJ Kahuna’s in May.

The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department repeated that 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.  “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 agency also reminds people that hand sanitizer does not kill the virus.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause 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.