Vaccine date announced for customers after food worker diagnosed with hepatitis A

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Wayne County Health Department is alerting residents about a case of hepatitis A being diagnosed in an employee who handled food at Casey’s General Store in Centerville, Ind.

An investigation found that this employee worked while ill on July 5.

While it is relatively rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, anyone who consumed food or drink that was prepared at Casey’s General Store at 704 E. Main St. in Centerville between July 5-12 is recommended to receive vaccination by July 26 as further protection from becoming ill.

Vaccinations are being administered from 3-6 p.m. Thursday, July 19, at the Wayne County Health Department, located at 201 E. Main St., Richmond. Those receiving their Hepatitis A vaccinations are asked to enter the Wayne County Health Department through the building’s north door at the Environmental Division’s office.

Casey’s General Store is working with the health department to prevent any new cases from arising in the community as a result of this case.

Anyone who consumed food and/or drink THAT WAS PREPARED at Casey’s General Store between July 5-12 is also asked to:
1. Monitor their health for symptoms of hepatitis A infection up to 50 days after exposure.
2. Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
3. Stay at home and contact their healthcare provider immediately if symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop.

Careful hand washing, including under the fingernails, with soap and water, along with vaccination of anyone at risk of infection, will prevent the spread of this disease.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown colored urine, and light colored stools. Yellowing of the skin or eyes may also appear. People can become ill up to 7 weeks after being exposed to the virus.

Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. The virus spreads when an infected person does not wash his/her hands adequately after using the toilet or engages in behaviors that increase risk of infection.

CDC recommends hepatitis A vaccination for the following groups:
• All children at age 1 year
• Travelers to countries that have high rates of hepatitis A
• Family members and caregivers of recent adoptees from countries where hepatitis A is common
• Men who have sexual contact with other men
• People who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs
• People with chronic (lifelong) liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C
• People who are treated with clotting-factor concentrates
• People who work with hepatitis A infected animals or in a hepatitis A research laboratory

The Wayne County Health Department, under the advice of the Indiana State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was urged to inform the general public of Wayne County of this incident involving the potential exposure of Hepatitis A.

For more information, please call the Wayne County Health Department at 765-973-9245 or the Wayne County Community Health Center at 765-973-9294.

For additional information on the larger outbreak occurring in Indiana, please visit https://www.in.gov/isdh/27791.htm.