Fast-food worker tests positive for hepatitis A in Preble County

Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2019 @ 4:17 PM

A fast-food worker tested positive for hepatitis A, Preble County Public Health announced today.

The employee cannot return to work at the KFC restaurant, 1200 N. Barron St. in Eaton, until the worker is cleared by the health department.

Preble County Public Health is providing vaccinations to the workers at KFC and none are currently ill.

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As an additional precaution, the restaurant has taken proactive steps, including deep cleaning and sanitizing the restaurant.

Although the risk to customers is “extremely low,” as a precaution the health department is asking anyone who has eaten at that KFC between Feb. 9 and Feb. 20 to monitor for symptoms of the virus for up to 50 days.

The disease, which affects the liver, can be spread through eating or drinking contaminated food. Symptoms of hepatitis A include:

  • fatigue
  • low appetite
  • stomach pain
  • nausea
  • clay-colored stools
  • jaundice (yellowish color to the skin and eyes)

A vaccine can protect you from getting sick if received within two weeks of contact with the virus. Patrons with questions or concerns should contact their health care provider. 

In addition to getting a vaccine, the best way to protect yourself from hepatitis A is to wash hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and before eating. 

The Ohio Department of Health declared a statewide outbreak of hepatitis A in June 2018. As of Feb. 25, there have been 1,819 cases statewide linked to this outbreak. 

To date, Preble County Public Health has investigated 42 cases of hepatitis A. Public health also has provided vaccination outreach in the community, focusing efforts on at-risk populations. People at the highest risk of hepatitis A during this outbreak include: 

  • People with direct contact with anyone who has the virus
  • People who use illegal drugs 
  • Men who have sex with men 
  • People who are homeless 
  • People who have traveled to other areas of the U.S. experiencing an outbreak 
For more information on the statewide outbreak of hepatitis A, visit the Ohio Department of Health’s website.