Hepatitis A confirmed at Winchester Applebee’s

Published 1:16 pm Friday, November 30, 2018

The Clark County Health Department was notified today and is investigating a case involving a 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. 14-25 are advised to get a hepatitis A vaccination.

Earlier this week, the health department announced another case of hepatitis A at Winchester’s Waffle House.

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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.

Applebee’s restaurant owners and employees have cooperated fully with local health officials.  The ill staff is not working at the restaurant 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 health and safety of our team members and guests is our top priority,” Mike Muldoon, president of RMH Franchise Holdings, said in a follow-up email. “When we learned that one of our team members at the Winchester 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 third-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.”

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 Clark 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. The health department will be working with the restaurants at the above locations to provide hepatitis A vaccinations for their employees.

The hepatitis A vaccine is available at most pharmacies and medical providers. For additional information, you may contact the Clark County Health Department at (859) 744-4482 and like the Clark County Health Department page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Clark-County-Health-Department.