FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 4, 2018
Public Health Impacts Administrator
Cafeteria Worker in Covington School Diagnosed with Hepatitis A
Reinforces Importance of Hep A Vaccination
FLORENCE, Ky. — A food service employee at John G. Carlisle Elementary School in Covington, Ky. (910 Holman St.), has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. The employee worked during a period of time when he/she was ill or infectious from 11/13/18 – 12/03/18.
School officials have been notified of the case and are cooperating with the investigation and response activities. School officials have implemented enhanced disinfection steps within the cafeteria and restrooms to address surfaces that may have been contaminated. Staff who worked with the involved employee have been informed to get hepatitis A vaccination immediately to protect against the virus. Co-workers have a greater risk of exposure due to prolonged close contact with the case. Handwashing and related hygienic practices have been reinforced with school officials and employees. Additionally, the Health Department has directed school employees to self-monitor for any symptoms of hepatitis A that may develop over the next 50 days.
Students and family members that have eaten food prepared by the cafeteria during this time period, and have not been fully vaccinated against hepatitis A, have been strongly encouraged to get the vaccine. In order to be fully vaccinated you need to have 2 doses of the vaccine, six months apart. As a reminder, Kentucky school children were required by state law to have the hepatitis A vaccination in order to attend school this year. Additionally, families have also been advised to monitor for symptoms over the next 50 days.
These measures have been recommended out of an abundance of caution for the children and families.
Since January 2018, 208 cases of hepatitis A have been reported in Northern Kentucky, and 2,865 have been reported in the state.
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 may have some or none of these symptoms. It could take up to seven weeks after being exposed to the virus for someone to become ill. 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.
Careful hand washing, including under the fingernails, with soap and water, along with vaccination, will prevent the spread of this disease.
Since Kentucky – including the Northern Kentucky region – is experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak, the Northern Kentucky Health Department is strongly encouraging Hepatitis A vaccination for the general public to protect against contracting the illness from any source of exposure. Handwashing remains the primary protection against many illnesses. Any person who believes they may have symptoms of Hep A should contact their health care provider. Additional information regarding Hepatitis A can be found at NKYHealth.org.
Visit https://nkyhealth.org/individual-or-family/health-alerts/hepatitis-a/ for more information.
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The Northern Kentucky Health Department provides high quality public health services to more than 400,000 residents of Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton Counties, with a goal of preventing disease, promoting wellness and protecting against health threats. The Health Department seeks to be a nationwide leader in public health, and was one of the first in the country to earn national public health accreditation. For more information, visit www.nkyhealth.org.