Currently there is a Hepatitis A outbreak in Louisville. As of this week we are up to 43 cases. The people most at risk right now are the homeless, people who use drugs, and people who work in close regular contact with those populations.
The risk of hepatitis A infection is associated with poor sanitation and hygiene and is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and drink or through direct contact with an infectious person. The virus can live for months in a contaminated environment, particularly in the absence of good sanitation.
We strongly encourage you to be vigilant with your employees in emphasizing good hygiene and sanitation practices. To prevent the spread of hepatitis A from an infected food worker to co-workers and/or restaurant patrons, food workers should never touch ready-to-eat foods with bare hands, and should carefully wash their hands after using the bathroom, even if the food worker does not feel sick. Food workers should never work while they are sick with stomach (gastrointestinal) illnesses.
The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to be vaccinated. We recommend that you encourage your employees to get the hepatitis A vaccine from their own healthcare provider or a local pharmacy such as Walgreens or Kroger. (The Affordable Care Act mandates that preventive vaccines be given without charging a copayment or coinsurance.)
CLICK HERE to read additional information that you may find helpful with regard to talking with sick employees.
CLICK HERE to read more information about hepatitis A.