A food handler at a truck stop in Kentucky has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A. According to state health officials, the worker was ill or infectious for weeks while still handling food. Authorities are warning that anyone who ate at the facility during that time is at risk of having contracted the disease.
According to a press release issued by the Northern Kentucky Department of Health, the unnamed worker was employed at the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen located within a T/A truck stop. The stop is located off of I-71/75 just South of Cincinnati in Florence, KY.
Department of Health officials say that the employee was working and may have been infectious from March 17th through April 5th. Anyone who consumed food or drink from the T/A Popeyes between those dates is being advised to take precautions.
Top of the list of the health advisory’s recommended precautions is washing hands with soap and warm water frequently, especially after using the bathroom. Since Hepatitis A symptoms can take up to 50 days to appear, an individual can be infected and not know it. If it has been less than two weeks, potentially exposed individuals should get a Hepatitis A vaccine. Otherwise, the Department of Health recommends monitoring yourself of symptoms. If symptoms do develop, it is recommended to stay home and contact a healthcare provider immediately.
According to the health advisory, symptoms of Hepatitis A include “loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown colored urine, light colored stools and diarrhea. Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice) may also appear.”
Hepatitis A is rare in developed countries as it is usually spread when food or drink is contaminated with undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. Even still, Kentucky is having a Hepatitis A outbreak with 4,341 recent confirmed cases so far.
More information on Hepatitis A is available at the Department of Health and Human Services Website.