Charleston Pizza Hut Worker Diagnosed with Hepatitis A

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) - The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department has confirmed a hepatitis A case in a food service worker at a Charleston Pizza Hut.

The worker is employed at the Pizza Hut at 5730 MacCorkle Avenue in Charleston, WV.

This is part of an investigation involving a hepatitis A outbreak that began in February and has been linked to a national outbreak.

As a precaution, family members and coworkers are receiving Hepatitis A immunizations, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols.

When an individual working at a food service establishment is diagnosed, KCHD sanitarians do an onsite inspection to review food-handling practices. This includes talking with employees and observing food-handling procedures.

Stanley Mills, director of environmental health services, identified no unsafe food handling practices at either facility warranting the health department issue warnings to patrons suggesting immunizations because of possible exposure.

Public transmission by a food service worker is uncommon if employees follow proper handwashing requirements and wear gloves. No hepatitis A has been transmitted to restaurant patrons in Kanawha and Putnam Counties.

Food service workers are not at increased risk for hepatitis A because of their occupation unless they have identified risk factors or personal contact with someone with risk factors.

Transmission risk is extremely low. The health department recommends patrons who consumed food or drinks at either restaurant monitor for hepatitis A symptoms.

Symptoms include abdominal pain, dark urine, fatigue, fever, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), light-colored stools, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. If symptoms occur, seek medical attention.

The infectious period when the Pizza Hut employee could have potentially transmitted the disease is May 26th through June 11th. The possibility of transmission is present only when the employee was working at the facility.

West Virginia has been identified by the CDC as part of a multistate hepatitis A outbreak. Transmission in cases in states involved with the outbreak has been by person-to-person contact occurring primarily among the homeless or those using injection and non-injection drugs and their close direct contacts.

The Bureau for Public Health is providing free hepatitis A vaccine for high-risk groups in outbreak counties. Vaccinations are available to the following groups: homeless, close personal contact (including sexual) to someone who is homeless or using drugs, household contact to someone who is homeless or using drugs, exposure or contact to someone who has hepatitis A, food service workers, recently incarcerated and direct service providers to the homeless and people who use drugs.

The health department screens for insurance eligibility before using the state-supplied vaccine.

Additional information can be found on the health department website or by calling the health department at 304-348-8050.

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