Hepatitis A confirmed at Winchester restaurant

Published 2:34 pm Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Winchester’s Waffle House restaurant was one of three where diners may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

According to a news release from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, anyone who ate at Winchester’s restaurant, located on Carol Road, on Nov. 20 should get a hepatitis A vaccine.

The release also confirmed two other cases in Lexington: Hardee’s at 2990 Richmond Road for diners between Nov. 23-26 and the Waffle House at 2347 Buena Vista between Nov. 11-19.

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While it is relatively uncommon for restaurant customers to become infected with the hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, anyone who consumed food or drink at these locations during the stated time period is advised to get a hepatitis A vaccination. This is recommended whether the customers live in Lexington or elsewhere.

The ill staff is not working at the restaurants and will remain off work until cleared to return. Environmental health staff has worked with the restaurant to ensure proper cleaning of the facility and reviewed recommendations regarding employee health and exclusion of ill workers going forward.

The hepatitis A vaccine is available at most pharmacies and medical providers. Clark County residents can contact the Clark County Health Department at 859-744-4482 to schedule their vaccination.

The Clark County and Lexington-Fayette County health departments will be working with the restaurants at the above locations to provide hepatitis A vaccinations for their employees.

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 to 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 Lexington-Fayette County Health Department recommends the hepatitis A vaccination for everyone in the community as the number of cases in the region and throughout the state continues to climb.