The VIPP Report: A White Castle employee in Louisville is diagnosed with Hep A

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The number continues to grow when it comes to Hepatitis A cases in Louisville, Kentucky.  An employee of the White Castle restaurant located at 3701 Seventh St. Rd. in Louisville has been diagnosed with an acute case.  Customers who ate at the restaurant from April 6 to April 20, 2018 may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus.

Here’s some of the symptoms: 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. If you are experiencing symptoms you should seek medical attention.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health declared a statewide hepatitis A outbreak.  Since the outbreak began there have been 281 cases diagnosed in Louisville and more than 14,000 vaccinated.

White Castle will provide free hepatitis A vaccinations for their employees in the Louisville Metro area.

The cost of the hepatitis A vaccine has been reduced from $65 to $25.  Businesses with more than 20 employees can have a nurse come to their site to provide the immunizations.  Businesses with fewer than 20 employees may designate vaccine for their employees to be immunized at U of L’s walk-in clinic.

As of April 24th,  more than 50 local food service establishments have chosen to provide their employees the hepatitis A vaccine through this effort.

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

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The VIPP Report: Two more people working in the food industry diagnosed with Hepatitis A in Louisville

The Louisville Metro Health Department just released that two additional businesses have an employee working in local food service establishments have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

Here’s the information they just released:

  • An employee of the Kroger store at 520 N 35th St. Customers who shopped at the store from March 2-19 may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus.
  • An employee of Sarino restaurant at 1030 Goss Ave. Customers who ate at the restaurant from February 24 through March 15 may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus.

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. Customers 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. To date there have been 159 cases diagnosed in Louisville.

“The best ways to prevent hepatitis A infection are to get vaccinated and to practice good hand washing,” said Dr. Lori Caloia, medical director. “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. Hand sanitizer is not effective against hepatitis A.”

“We are vaccinating employees at both locations to protect them and prevent the further spread of the disease,” added Dr. Caloia. “And Kroger is donating 100 doses of the vaccine to assist with curtailing the outbreak. We encourage other businesses to either donate vaccine or immunize their employees against hepatitis A,” said Dr. Caloia.

“As we approach a very fun and busy spring season in Louisville,” Caloia added, “we are encouraging all food service establishments to be vigilant in emphasizing good hygiene and sanitation practices. We also encourage food service workers to get vaccinated.”

People who wish to get the hepatitis A vaccine should see their doctor or primary care provider. The vaccine is also available at Kroger Little Clinics and pharmacies, as well as Walgreens, Rite Aid and the University of Louisville Pharmacy, 550 S. Jackson St. The hepatitis A vaccination is covered by most insurance plans.

Food service establishments wishing to provide hepatitis A vaccine for their employees can contact Dr. Ruth Carrico at the University of Louisville Global Health Center at 502-852-1324. You can pay for and designate vaccine for your employees at their walk-in clinic, or, if you have 20 or more employees, the clinic nurses can come to your site.

For more information on hepatitis A visit https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/afaq.htm.