June 21, 2018

McDonald’s Worker in Berea, Kentucky Diagnosed with Hepatitis A

The Madison County Health Department in Kentucky is investigating a single case of hepatitis A in a food worker who worked while infectious at the McDonald’s restaurant on Glades Road in Berea, Kentucky. Anyone who ate there on March 23, 2018 should contact their doctor about this issue.

Hepatitis A

Unfortunately, it’s too late for anyone to get a hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccination, since they are only effective if given within two weeks of exposure. It’s been three weeks, or 21 days, since the possible exposure. People may already be sick, and could still get sick for the next month, since the illness manifests two weeks to 50 days after exposure to the virus.

McDonald’s is cooperating with state and local health officials. The risk to patrons is low, but this virus is extremely contagious.

Hepatitis A is spread through the fecal-oral route. In other words, when someone with the virus doesn’t wash his hands after using the bathroom, then prepares food or drink or touches objects, they can easily spread the virus.

Symptoms of this illness include fever, clay-colored stools, dark urine, jaundice, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and joint pain. Most people do get better on their own, but the symptoms can last up to 6 months. People with liver disease can become seriously ill and may require hospitalization. Some people do die form this illness.

If you have been vaccinated previously, or if you have had this illness in the past, you should be immune. Meanwhile, monitor your health. People are infectious two weeks before any symptoms appear, which is why it spread s so easily. Wash your hands well with soap and water after using the bathroom, caring for someone who is sick, changing a diaper, preparing food, or eating.

If you work in the healthcare or food service fields, consider getting vaccinated. It is given in two doses six months apart.

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