Health Department Investigating Hepatitis A Cases

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has three confirmed cases of hepatitis A and one probable case. Health department officials are working to control the spread of the virus.

One of the confirmed cases worked briefly at O’Charley’s restaurant, 2895 Richmond Road. The health department’s investigation to this point indicates this person had a low risk of transmitting the disease. The risk is low because the person was not working there during the most infectious period and did not work there very long.

To be on the safe side, people who ate at the restaurant between May 22 and June 1 should monitor for signs and symptoms of hepatitis A until July 21. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), dark-colored urine, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and fever. Anyone with symptoms should contact his or her physician and the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department at 288-7529.

The restaurant’s management has done everything the health department has requested, including taking extra sanitary precautions to further ensure safety and protect the public’s health.

The health department is also providing Immune Globulin and hepatitis A vaccine to those who had close personal contact with confirmed cases to reduce the chances that they get sick.

The hepatitis A virus is found in the stool of people infected with hepatitis A and is usually spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth (even though it might look clean) that has been contaminated with the stool of a person infected with hepatitis A. It is often transmitted when people do not wash their hands properly or by eating uncooked or undercooked food.

The best way to keep from getting hepatitis A is to wash your hands using warm water and soap, to handle uncooked food appropriately and to fully cook food. Always wash your hands before touching or eating food, after using the toilet and after changing a diaper. When soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers.

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