Champaign County and Clark County, Ohio – A case of hepatitis A has been identified in a Frisch’s restaurant employee that worked in 2 locations: 1228 Scioto Street in Urbana and 1830 Bechtle Avenue in Springfield. The Champaign Health District and the Clark County Combined Health District are working with the locations to vaccinate all of the restaurant employees. In this situation, the risk of transmission to patrons is extremely low due to safe food handling procedures being in place.
A spokesperson from Frisch’s issued a statement saying, “We have fully cooperated with Health Department authorities, and appreciate their ongoing work in addressing this nationwide issue. The well-being of our guests and team members remains our paramount concern.”
The Ohio Department of Health declared a statewide outbreak of hepatitis A in June 2018. As of March 25th, 2019, the Clark County Combined Health District has investigated 59 cases of hepatitis A, 42 linked to the statewide outbreak. The Champaign Health District has investigated 9 cases of hepatitis A, 6 linked to the statewide outbreak.
“This case of hepatitis A just highlights the fact that the state is still in an active outbreak,” said Christina Conover, Nursing Director, Clark County Combined Health District. “Proper handwashing and vaccination are the most effective strategies to combat this virus.”
The disease, which affects the liver, can be spread by ingesting fecal matter from an infected individual. Symptoms of hepatitis A include:
· Low appetite
· Stomach pain
· Clay-colored stools
· Jaundice (yellowish color to the skin and eyes)
Who is at greater risk for hepatitis A?
People who use street drugs whether they are injected or not
People who are incarcerated
People experiencing homelessness
Men who have sex with men
People with direct contact with individuals infected with the virus
People who have traveled to other areas of the U.S. currently experiencing outbreaks
While the groups mentioned above are at greater risk, the CDC recommends anyone 12 months or older receive the hepatitis A vaccine. Anyone interested in vaccination should contact their healthcare provider, local pharmacy or their local health district.