Employee at Speedway diagnosed with hepatitis A virus

June 8, 2018

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 8, 2018) –  An employee of the Speedway located at 5400 Antle Dr. has been diagnosed with acute hepatitis A. 

Only customers who ate prepared food products such as pizza, hot dogs, breakfast sandwiches at this Speedway from May 15, 2018 to May 31, 2018 may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus.  Customers who purchased fuel or packaged goods are not at risk.

While the risk of contracting hepatitis A from eating at Speedway is low, the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness is issuing this advisory out of an abundance of caution.  The hepatitis A outbreak remains centered among the homeless and those who use illegal drugs.

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.  Additionally, all employees at the establishment are vaccinated and disinfection and sanitation practices are followed. This Speedway’s last two food service inspection scores were 98-A and 100-A.

Symptoms of hepatitis A are fatigue, decreased appetite, stomach pain, nausea, darkened urine, pale stools and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). People can become ill 15 to 50 days after being exposed to the virus. Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek medical attention.

Hepatitis A is usually transmitted by putting something in your mouth such as an object, food or drink, which has been in contact with the feces of an infected person. In November, the Kentucky Department for Public Health declared a statewide hepatitis A outbreak and has recommended that all residents be vaccinated.  Since the outbreak began there have been 446 cases diagnosed in Louisville and almost 73,000 vaccinated. Of those, more than 5,700 are food workers.

“Food-borne transmission has not been a factor in this outbreak,” said Dr. Lori Caloia, medical director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.  “The virus continues to be transmitted person-to-person, primarily among those who use illegal drugs and the homeless.  We have had a very small number of food workers diagnosed with hepatitis A. We continue to encourage the restaurant industry to get their workers immunized.” 

Reduced-cost vaccinations continue to be available to restaurant workers.  Restaurant workers wishing to be vaccinated should contact their managers for details.

The best ways to prevent hepatitis A infection are to get vaccinated and to practice good handwashing. “Washing your hands thoroughly and often with warm water and soap, especially before preparing meals or eating, after using the bathroom or changing a diaper is a proven way to prevent the spread of diseases,” Dr. Caloia added.  “Hand sanitizer is not as effective as hand washing against hepatitis A.”

For more information about hepatitis A visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/health-wellness/hepatitis  or call 211.

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