Covington school cafeteria worker diagnosed with hepatitis A

Covington school cafeteria worker diagnosed with hepatitis A (WKRC)

COVINGTON, Ky. (WKRC) – John G. Carlisle Elementary School sent home a letter as soon as it found out a cafeteria worker tested positive for hepatitis A.

The letter was accompanied by a letter from the Northern Kentucky Health Department urging people who ate at the cafeteria over the past three weeks and have not been fully vaccinated to see a doctor.

“Initially, I was pretty frightened,” said Taylor Kopeschka. “My son was sick last week, so initially I was very frightened because I wasn’t sure if it had anything to do with what his symptoms were last week.”

Kopeschka's son is in the first grade at the school.

“After I read about it and talked to his doctor, I felt better about it,” she said.

Stephanie Vogel is the director of Population Health with the Northern Kentucky Health Department. She says statewide there are more than 2,000 cases of hepatitis A, and in northern Kentucky, there are 208 current cases. Typically, in a year, officials in northern Kentucky see less than five cases.

Despite record numbers, the Northern Kentucky Health Department isn’t sounding the alarm on this case just yet.

“We consider this a low-risk exposure and we are making sure folks are aware of it. In the general population, there’s not a lot of risk,” said Vogel.

A low risk is the thought because in Kentucky, it’s now state law for students to get the hepatitis A vaccination before the start of the school year. Those with religious and medical concerns can file for an exemption.

The school has undergone a thorough cleaning and no classes were canceled. The school has 300 students and 55 staff members.

The school and the Northern Kentucky Health Department will continue to work together to monitor students and staff. Symptoms of hepatitis A are:

  • Fever
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Pale feces
  • Jaundice
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain

Click here to learn more about hepatitis A.

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