What to do if you were exposed to Hep A at a restaurant? According to the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department consumers who ate at the Frisch’s on 1927 Harrodsburg Road during October 10-28, 2018 are at risk for exposure. An employee at this establishment has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of hepatitis A. The best ways to prevent hepatitis A are to get vaccinated and to practice good hand washing.
While it is relatively uncommon for restaurant customers to become infected with the hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, anyone who consumed food or drink at Frisch’s at this location during the stated time period is advised to get a Hep A vaccination. This is recommended whether patrons live in Lexington or elsewhere.
The ill person is not currently working at the restaurant and will remain off work until cleared to return. Environmental Health staff has worked with the restaurant to ensure proper cleaning of the facility and reviewed recommendations regarding employee health and exclusion of ill workers going forward.
Since the Fall of 2017 more than 2,270 cases have been reported across Kentucky. That is compared to around 20 cases that are typically recognized each year. There have been 16 deaths associated with hepatitis A in this outbreak.
Hepatitis A is usually “spread by unknowingly eating or drinking something that is contaminated by small amounts of stool from an infected person”, according to the health department. “Washing your hands with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or making food and drinks can help stop the spread of hepatitis A.”
Symptoms of Hepatitis A are fatigue, decreased appetite, stomach pains, nausea, darkened urine, pale stools, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). People can become ill 15-50 days after being exposed to the virus. Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek medical attention.
Starting in the 2018-2019 school year, Kentucky students will be required to have the vaccination. Please check with your medical provider to see if your child has been vaccinated.
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