Hepatitis A confirmed in food handler

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- A food service worker at a Hardee’s on US 127 in Frankfort has tested positive for hepatitis A, according to a Facebook post from the Franklin County Health Department.

The health department says that the risk of restaurant patrons is low, but Hardee’s is working to prevent any new cases from arising in the community.

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Hardee’s has voluntarily closed this location for a thorough cleaning and sanitizing.

Health Department Director Judy Mattingly says “the risk of infection from this food service worker is very low due to hand hygiene requirements at Hardee’s and all eating establishments.”

In a release, the health department said anyone who consumed food at Hardee’s on US 127 from its opening until 10 a.m. on Oct. 4 “may wish to consult their primary care provider to determine if they should receive a hepatitis A vaccination by Oct. 18 as a further precaution from becoming ill.”

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 seven weeks after being exposed to the virus for someone to become ill.

The virus 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 news release stated. It can also spread when an infected person does not wash his or her hands after using the bathroom or engages in behaviors that increase risk of infection.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends the hepatitis A vaccination for the following groups:

  • All children at age 1
  • Travelers to countries that have high rates of hepatitis A
  • Family members and caregivers of recent adoptees from countries where hepatitis A is common
  • Men who have sexual contact with other men
  • People who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs
  • People with chronic (lifelong) liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C
  • People who are treated with clotting-factor concentrates
  • People who work with hepatitis A infected animals or in a hepatitis A research laboratory