I ate at a food service establishment in Louisville that had a case of Hepatitis A. What do I do?

The risk of contracting hepatitis A from eating at a restaurant where an employee was diagnosed with hepatitis A is low, When a food service worker is diagnosed with hepatitis A, he or she is immediately excluded from work and not allowed to return without release from his or her medical provider. All employees at the restaurant are vaccinated and disinfection and sanitation practices are followed.

We issue public announcements when a food worker gets infected out of an abundance of caution for people who may have been exposed when the worker was infectious before we discovered the person had hepatitis A and who might develop symptoms later. Going forward, those restaurants may now be among the safest places in the city to eat at.   

The restaurant industry has really stepped up to the plate to get their workers immunized. More than 6,200 food workers have been vaccinated. Reduced-cost vaccinations continue to be available to restaurant workers. Restaurant workers wishing to be vaccinated should contact their managers for details.They can also contact the University of Louisville Global Travel Clinic at 502.852.1324.

Our hepatitis A outbreak remains centered among people who use illegal drugs (any drug use, not just injection drug use), people who are homeless or who have unstable housing, and men who have sex with men.  About 30 percent of those who have been diagnosed with hepatitis A have no risk factors which is why we, and the Kentucky Department for Public Health, have been encouraging everyone get vaccinated.  Getting vaccinated and frequent handwashing with warm water and soap are the best methods of protection from the virus.

If you at a restaurant that had a worker that was diagnosed with hepatitis A within the timeframe specified, your risk of contracting the disease is relatively low.  However, if you are experiencing symptoms, please see a healthcare provider right away. Getting the hepatitis A vaccination within two weeks of exposure is also a way to protect yourself.  Here’s where you can get vaccinated.

 

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself from hepatitis A:

  • Get vaccinated: Call your insurance company before going to get vaccinated so you know what the rules are, such as which provider to use, and any fees involved
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water.
  • Wash your hands before preparing a meal or eating.
  • Wash your hands after using the bathroom or changing a diaper.
  • Look for a bathroom or hand washing station with soap and running water because hand sanitizer is less effective in stopping the hep A virus.

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