An employee at the Applebee’s restaurant located at 4717 Dixie Highway has been diagnosed with acute hepatitis A. As a result, customers who ate at the restaurant from March 23 to April 12, 2018 may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus.

Hepatitis A Vaccine Image/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Hepatitis A Vaccine
Image/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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 to 50 days after being exposed to the virus. Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek medical attention.

Hepatitis A is usually transmitted by putting something in your mouth such as an object, food or drink, which has been in contact with the feces of an infected person. In November, the Kentucky Department for Public Health declared a statewide hepatitis A outbreak. Since the outbreak began there have been 226 cases diagnosed in Louisville and more than 11,000 vaccinated.

“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 as effective as hand washing against hepatitis A.”

The Department of Public Health and Wellness recommends anyone working in the hospitality industry, particularly those who serve or prepare food and beverages, protect themselves and others by getting the hepatitis A vaccine. The independent business owners of the Applebee’s restaurants in the state of Kentucky as well as surrounding markets in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Tennessee will provide free Hepatitis A vaccinations to their employees.