Pulaski County: A Case of Hepatitis A has been diagnosed in an Employee at Local Restaurant

A case of hepatitis A has been diagnosed in an employee who handled food at Sonic Restaurant located at 1361 South Hwy 27 Somerset, KY 42501.

While it is rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, anyone who consumed food or drink at Sonic Restaurant July 3rd, 2019 through July 22nd, 2019 may consider Hepatitis A vaccination. Sonic Restaurant is fully cooperating with the Health Department and is working with the Health Department to get all employees vaccinated. There is minimal risk of contracting hepatitis A from this establishment or any other food establishment at this time, and no case of hepatitis A in the current Kentucky outbreak has been associated with food service establishments.

Vaccine is available through your local pharmacy, the Health Department and your health care provider.

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.

A message from Sonic Restaurant:

As you may know, there is an ongoing Hepatitis A outbreak occurring across the Lake Cumberland region and the state of Kentucky. This week, one of our team members was diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

Sonic is committed to the health and safety of our team members and guests, and are working closely with the Lake Cumberland District Health Department.  We have excellent safety measures in place, and increased them when the health department announced the state Hepatitis A outbreak earlier this year.

All employees at the Somerset location were previously vaccinated or will be vaccinated in order to continue to work. The restaurant, which received a 100 on its most recent health inspection, was fully sanitized as soon as we were notified of the team members Hepatitis A diagnosis. We closed the restaurant, fully sanitized and then reopened to the public.

The team member was exposed in the community where Hepatitis A is now widely prevalent. This team member and all food handlers routinely wear gloves, making the risk of transmission extremely low. As a precautionary measure, we are using a cleaner throughout the restaurant that kills the virus.

We will continue to follow any and all recommendations from the Lake Cumberland District Health Department and Kentucky Department for Public Health regarding guest vaccination until this situation is resolved.

For additional information on the larger outbreak occurring in Kentucky, please visit

https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/dehp/idb/Pages/hepAoutbreak.aspx

For more information please contact your local health department.

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