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Workers at 2 Louisville businesses diagnosed with Hep A

Customers experiencing symptoms should seek medical care.

LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- Employees at two local businesses have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

One worker at Sarino (1030 Goss Avenue) was diagnosed. Customers who dined at the establishment from February 24 through March 15 may have been exposed to the virus. According to the owner of Sarino, the employee worked in sanitation and had no contact with food or guests. all other employees have since been vaccinated and the restaurant has been cleaned. He also told WHAS that the employee no longer works at the restaurant.

One worker from Kroger (520 N 35th Street) was diagnosed. Customers who shopped at the store from March 2 through March 19 may have been exposed to the virus. A statement by Kroger noted that this worker was a "non-food service worker" and did not return to work after being diagnosed.

“We are vaccinating employees at both locations to protect them and prevent the further spread of the disease,” added Dr. Caloia. “And Kroger is donating 100 doses of the vaccine to assist with curtailing the outbreak. We encourage other businesses to either donate vaccine or immunize their employees against hepatitis A,” said Dr. Caloia.

Symptoms of the virus include fatigue, decreased appetite, stomach pain, nausea, darkened urine, pale stools, and jaundice. People may become ill 15 to 50 days after being exposed. Those experiencing symptoms should seek medical care.

“As we approach a very fun and busy spring season in Louisville,” Caloia added, “we are encouraging all food service establishments to be vigilant in emphasizing good hygiene and sanitation practices. We also encourage food service workers to get vaccinated.”

Hepatitis A is usually transmitted by putting something in your mouth that has made contact with the feces of an infected person. In November, the Kentucky Department for Public Health declared a statewide Hepatitis A outbreak. There have been 159 cases diagnosed in Louisville.

“The best ways to prevent hepatitis A infection are to get vaccinated and to practice good handwashing,” said Dr. Lori Caloia, medical director. “Washing your hands thoroughly and often with warm water and soap, especially before preparing meals or eating, after using the bathroom or changing a diaper is a proven way to prevent the spread of diseases. Hand sanitizer is not effective against hepatitis A.”

People who wish to get a vaccine should visit their primary care doctor. The vaccine is also available at Kroger Little Clinics and pharmacies, as well as Walgreens, Rite Aid, and the UofL Pharmacy at 550 Jackson St. The vaccine is covered by most insurance plans.

Food service establishments wanting to provide vaccines for their employees can contact Dr. Ruth Carrico at the University of Louisville Global Health Center at 502-852-1324. Food service establishments may designate vaccines for employees at a walk-in-clinic or nurses may come on site for locations with more than 20 employees.