GARRETT, Ind. (NEWSRELEASE) - A case of Hepatitis A has been diagnosed in an employee who handled food at the Martin’s Tavern at 115 North Randolph Street. The infectious period that this employee worked was on 2/1/19, 2/2/19, 2/5/19, 2/6/19, 2/7/19, 2/8/19, and 2/9/19.
While it is relatively rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with Hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, anyone who consumed food or drink at Martin’s Tavern on 2/7/19, 2/8/19, and 2/9/19 is recommended to receive vaccination by 2/23/19 as further protection from becoming ill. Martin’s Tavern is working with us to prevent any new cases from arising in the community as a result of this case.
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
Vaccine must be administered within two weeks after the last date of exposure. Individuals who consumed food or drink before 2/7/19 are outside of the window for post-exposure prophylaxis and are advised to monitor for symptoms. Vaccinations are being administered at the DeKalb County Health Department at 220 East 7th Street Suite 110, Auburn Indiana for those with potential exposure to Hepatitis A during the specified dates.
* Friday February 22nd - 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
* Saturday February 23rd – 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Anyone who consumed food and/or drink at the Martin’s Tavern on 2/1/19, 2/2/19, 2/5/19, 2/6/19, 2/7/19, 2/8/19 and 2/9/19 is also asked to:
1. Monitor their health for symptoms of Hepatitis A infection up to 50 days after exposure.
2. Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
3. Stay at home and contact their healthcare provider immediately if symptoms of Hepatitis A infection develop.
Per DeKalb County Health Officer, Dr. Mark Souder… “The DeKalb County Health Department is responding as quickly as possible to this Hepatitis A exposure. The late discovery of this confirmed hepatitis A case has narrowed our window of response. We are in close contact with our advisory authority, the State Board of Health, to formulate a rapid and thorough response.”
Careful hand washing, including under the fingernails, with soap and water, along with vaccination of anyone at risk of infection, will prevent the spread of this disease.
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 can become ill up to 7 weeks after being exposed to the virus.
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 his/her hands adequately after using the toilet or engages in behaviors that increase risk of infection.
Indiana law has required a Hepatitis A vaccine for school admission since 2014, and the vaccine was required for students entering sixth and 12th grades in 2018, so many students have already been vaccinated.
Hepatitis A is usually transmitted person-to-person through fecal-oral routes or by consuming contaminated food or water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies those most at risk during this outbreak as people who use illicit drugs, the homeless, men who have sex with men and those who are incarcerated.
Indiana health officials have been working to educate the public, restaurants, jails, groups that serve homeless populations and those who use illicit drugs about the outbreak and ways to prevent the disease. ISDH also provides outbreak updates on its website.
Anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of Hepatitis A should contact a healthcare provider immediately and refrain from preparing food for others. Symptoms can include fatigue, loss of appetite, stomach pain, nausea and jaundice, which usually appear within two months of infection. Individuals can become ill 15 to 50 days after being exposed to the virus. A doctor can determine if someone has Hepatitis A with a blood test.