Ashland Dairy Queen Employee Diagnosed with Hepatitis A

ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) - The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department says an employee at the Dairy Queen in Ashland, Kentucky has been diagnosed with hepatitis A.

The ABCHD says the employee handled food and was diagnosed on Tuesday, May 8th, 2018.

ABCHD says their investigation found that the risk of restaurant patrons becoming infected is very low, and Dairy Queen is working with the health department to prevent any new cases from arising in the community as a result of this case.

The Kentucky Department of Public Health recommends vaccination for everyone residing Jefferson, Bullitt, Hardin, Greenup, Carter and Boyd counties due to the ongoing outbreak of Hepatitis A.

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 50 days after being exposed to the virus for someone to become ill but most people experience symptoms within 28-30 days after being exposed.

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 their 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, and vaccination of anyone at risk of infection, will prevent the spread of this disease.

The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department recommends all residents seek hepatitis A vaccination from their provider.

The 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.

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

Dairy Queen released the following statement:

We have received notification that one of our employees fell ill and tested positive with the Hepatitis A virus. With the health and safety of our customers and employees being paramount, the store was immediately sanitized and disinfected, in accordance with health department regulations. In addition, we have also put additional procedures in place to ensure employees are adhering to strict health and sanitation policies. Store ownership and management will continue to work closely with Ashland-Boyd County Health Department officials.

Employees have received a Hepatitis A vaccination or will be receiving the Hepatitis A vaccination before returning to work.

Please know that the health and safety of our customers and employees is a top priority.

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