2018-07-11 / Front Page

Napoleon Taco Bell Employee Diagnosed With Hepatitis A

After an employee at the Taco Bell in Napoleon was diagnosed with hepatitis A, things have been busy for the Henry County Health Department.

“It’s busy, but a good busy,” Joy Ermie, Director of Community Health for HCHD, said Monday morning.

HCHD put out a press release, Friday, July 6.

The release states the health department “has been notified of a confirmed case of hepatitis A in a food handler working at the Taco Bell restaurant…(in) Napoleon.

“Any restaurant patrons who consumed food and/or drink from the restaurant between the dates of June 11 through June 28 may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus.”

“People in the media have really helped us by getting the word out,” Ermie said.

Kim Cupp, Fulton County Health Department director, said FCHD received the release and alerted Fulton County physicians about the case.

The Ohio Department of Health recently declared a “statewide community outbreak” of hepatitis A, Cupp said, after seeing an increase in hepatitis A cases in certain groups.

What Is Hepatitis A?

A fact sheet from the federal Centers for Disease Control states, “Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.”

Ermie said hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death.

“This is more common in people older than 50 and in people with other liver diseases,” she said.

The CDC fact sheet says 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.”

“That’s why hand-washing is so, so important,” Ermie said.

What To Do

Those who ate at the Napoleon restaurant or are otherwise exposed to the hepatitis A virus should contact their healthcare providers to be assessed for vaccination or treatment with immune globulin.

Ermie said the hepatitis A vaccine is given in two injections.

The first is given right away. The second is given in six months.

After the second dose, the immunization provides lifetime protection.

Ermie said the Henry County Health Department will hold a walk-in clinic Thursday, July 12, 9-11:30 am and 1:30-4 pm at its offices at 1843 Oakwood Ave., Napoleon.

Ermie said those who ate at the Napoleon Taco Bell between June 11-28 and who have not received the hepatitis A vaccine should bring a photo ID and insurance card. No appointment is necessary.

No one will be turned away due to cost, she said.

Some pharmacies also offer the vaccine.

Those who have hepatitis A symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and seek medical care.

Statement

In a statement emailed to this newspaper, Taco Bell corporate officials said as soon as the operator of the Napoleon franchise location learned of the case of hepatitis A, the franchisee began working with both Taco Bell corporate and the Henry County Health Department.

“The team member in question is on leave and won’t return to work until cleared by medical professionals,” the release said.

“Additionally, all team members at this location have been offered vaccinations and will receive additional training on illness policies and procedures.”

Cupp said Monday the Fulton County Health Department had gone through half of its available stock of vaccine.

An order for more was placed Monday, and should be delivered no later than Wednesday.

Ermie said on Monday, “Residents are taking the recommendations to get the hepatitis A vaccine.

“The (Henry County) health department is working feverishly to get appointments made and administer the vaccines.”

After being closed for cleaning, Ermie said the restaurant reopened Saturday.

Hepatitis A Symptoms

•Fatigue
•Loss of Appetite
•Fever
•Stomach Pain or Tenderness
•Nausea or Vomiting
•Dark Urine
•Grey-Colored Stools
•Jaundice (a yellowing of the
skin)

Most children under 6 do not experience symptoms.

Symptoms typically appear 2-6 weeks after exposure.

*Source: Henry County Health Department.

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