The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department says an employee at an O'Charley's in Kanawha County has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A.
"This has been mainly occurring in the homeless or the unsheltered population and this has spread to southern West Virginia which has now had over 20 cases of Hepatitis A. So, in Monongalia County, we want to vaccinate people in this high risk population", said Diane Gross, Regional Epidemiologist for the Mon County Health Department.
This is the sixth food worker to be diagnosed with hepatitis A in the county during this multistate outbreak. The public transmission risk is low.
All of the restaurant's employees will be required to get the hepatitis A vaccine before returning to work. RJ Kahuna's will remain voluntarily closed to allow for the employees' vaccinations to develop an immunity.
"RJ Kahuna's is working with the health department to prevent any new cases from arising in the community as a result of this case", health officials stated in a press release Wednesday.
These include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light colored stools, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). However, most people notice symptoms within 28 to 30 days of exposure.
Kentucky's Department for Public Health now is recommending everyone residing in Jefferson, Bullitt, Hardin, Greenup, Carter and Boyd counties be vaccinated against hepatitis A.
"Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable illness", stated Dr. Jeffrey Howard, acting DPH commissioner.
Most adults have not been vaccinated for Hepatitis A. In 2006, the vaccine was added to the recommended vaccine schedule but is not a West Virginia school entry requirement.
Public health nurses from the department will be visiting locations around the county the week of May 21 to administer the vaccinations.