A food service employee at the hospital cafeteria in Pavilion A in the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of hepatitis A. As a result, anyone who ate at the cafeteria from Oct. 11-30, including employees and hospital visitors, may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus and are advised to get a hepatitis A vaccination.
The employee prepared food at the cafeteria but was not involved in food preparation for inpatients at the hospital and is not currently working and will remain off work until cleared to return.
Although there have been no confirmed cases of hepatitis A transmitted by food handlers or food service workers in Fayette County, anyone who has eaten at the hospital cafeteria during the stated time period is advised to get a hepatitis A vaccination. The vaccine may be available from your physician’s office, most pharmacies and county health departments.
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and UK HealthCare recommend the hepatitis A vaccination for everyone in the community as the number of cases in the region and throughout the state continues to climb. Kentucky schoolchildren were required to have the vaccination beginning the 2018-19 school year. Please check with your medical provider to see if your child has been vaccinated.
The hepatitis A vaccination provides long-term immunity. If you have previously received the hepatitis A vaccine series, you are protected and do not need to get revaccinated. If you have received the first dose of the series, you should have some protection and should seek the second dose six months or more after the first.
Food service workers at UK HealthCare are contracted through Morrison’s Healthcare and will be required to receive the Hepatitis A vaccination for their protection and that of the employees, patients and visitors they serve. In addition, ‘Vaccination Stations’ will be set up for all UK HealthCare employees.
If you consumed food at the cafeteria during this time period and have questions, you can call 859-257-1000 for more information.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that is usually spread when a person unknowingly eats or drinks something contaminated with the virus 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.
For more information about hepatitis A, go to the following links: https://lexingtonhealthdepartment.org/hepatitisa/ and https://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/sites/default/files/hepatitis-fact-sheet.pdf.