A case of hepatitis A has been identified in a Rally’s restaurant employee working at 2122 South Limestone Street in Springfield. The Clark County Combined Health District is working with restaurant management to vaccinate the restaurant’s employees. In this situation, the risk of transmission to patrons is extremely low due to safe food handling procedures.
"The health of our employees and our guests is our top priority. We have fully cooperated with Health Department authorities, and appreciate their ongoing work in addressing this nationwide issue," stated Kim Francis, Rally's Spokesperson.
The Ohio Department of Health declared a statewide outbreak of hepatitis A in June 2018. As of July 5th, 2019, the Clark County Combined Health District has investigated 75 cases of hepatitis A, and all are linked to the statewide outbreak.
“This case of hepatitis A highlights the fact that 91% of counties in Ohio are continuing to investigate the statewide community outbreak,” said Anna Jean Petroff, Epidemiologist, Clark County Combined Health District. “Proper handwashing and vaccination are the most effective strategies to combat this virus.”
The disease, which affects the liver, can be spread by ingesting fecal matter from an infected individual. Symptoms of hepatitis A include:
- Low appetite
- Stomach pain
- Clay-colored stools
- Jaundice (yellowish color to the skin and eyes)
Who is at greatest risk for hepatitis A?
- People who use street drugs whether they are injected or not
- People who are incarcerated
- People experiencing homelessness
- Men who have sex with men
- People with direct contact with individuals infected with the virus
- People who have traveled to other areas of the U.S. currently experiencing outbreaks
While the groups mentioned above are at greater risk, the CDC recommends anyone 12 months or older receive the hepatitis A vaccine. Anyone interested in vaccination should contact their healthcare provider, local pharmacy or their local health district.