Miami Township restaurant worker diagnosed with hepatitis A

Miami Township restaurant worker diagnosed with hepatitis A (WKRC)

MIAMI TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKRC) - A former worker at the Taco Bell in Miami Township in Clermont County has tested positive for hepatitis A, according to Clermont County Public Health.

The worker was only there a few days and the risk to anyone who ate there is extremely low.

Clermont County Public Health said the worker did a minimal amount of food handling while working between Aug. 15-17.

"They did some, but being a new employee, going through training, they were mainly doing some dish washing," Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit said.

The incubation period for hepatitis A is between 15-50 days once you've been exposed, but the average is between 28-30 days.

"The problem with it is you can actually shed the virus for about two weeks prior to you becoming symptomatic," Nesbit said.

Nesbit said the public health is not recommending anyone get the hepatitis A vaccine. However, you should check in with your doctor if you have a compromised immune system and ate during the three days the worker was there.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include:

  • Fatigue
  • Low appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Jaundice (yellowish color of the skin and eyes)

Hepatitis A gets passed along if an infected person didn't wash their hands properly and touches food you eat, but health officials say the risk of getting the virus from the employee is very low. They also want you to know that if you get the vaccine within two weeks of exposure, it can help you protect against it.

"If we have somebody that comes in and we diagnose them with hepatitis A and they're acutely ill, we'll actually give them something called immunoglobulin, which is actually the antibodies to fight the infection right away. The vaccine helps your body to produce antibodies to fight the infection, but it usually takes a couple weeks," said Dr. Robert Tracy of St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

The restaurant manager said he could not talk about what happened. Taco Bell's corporate spokesperson has not answered a request for comment.

Nesbit said public health has asked the restaurant to review how it handles food and the restaurant has been very cooperative.

The Ohio Department of Health declared a statewide outbreak of hepatitis A in June. So far, there have been 256 cases statewide that are linked to this outbreak.

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