LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) -The Clark County Health Department has confirmed the diagnosis of hepatitis A in a food service worker at the Applebee’s, located at 1525 W. Lexington Ave. in Winchester.
Customers who ate at the restaurant Nov. 14- Nov 25, 2018 are advised to get a hepatitis A vaccination:
Health officials want to remind individuals that it is relatively uncommon for restaurant customers to become infected with the hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler. However, anyone who consumed food or drink at these locations during the stated time period is advised to get a hepatitis A vaccination.
The owners of the Applebee’s restaurant have cooperated fully with local health officials. The staff member is not working at the restaurant and will remain off work until medical clearance is granted.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that is usually spread when a person unknowingly eats or drinks something contaminated by small amounts of stool from an infected person. Washing your hands with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper or before making food and drinks can help stop the spread of hepatitis A.
Symptoms of hepatitis A are fatigue, decreased appetite, stomach pain, nausea, darkened urine, pale stools and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). People can become ill 15-50 days after being exposed to the virus. Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek medical attention.
The best ways to prevent hepatitis A are to get vaccinated and to practice good hand washing.
The hepatitis A vaccine is available at most pharmacies and medical providers.
Mike Muldoon, President of RMH Franchise Holdings, the franchisee who owns the Applebee’s, has released a statement regarding the incident:
The health and safety of our team members and guests is our top priority. When we learned that one of our team members at the Winchester, Ky. location was diagnosed with Hepatitis A, we immediately began our collaboration with the Clark County Health Department. The individual affected did not work while symptomatic and has not worked at the restaurant since the diagnosis.
We effectively took all necessary measures requested by the Health Department and proactively took extra precautionary steps by temporarily closing the restaurant and hiring a 3rd party professional company specialized in this area to further clean and sanitize the restaurant within 12 hours of this news.
We are currently in the process of coordinating vaccinations for all team members who haven’t already been at the restaurant and at all our other restaurant locations within Lexington, KY.