OHIO VALLEY — Due to the Hepatitis A outbreaks within the tri-state area of Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio, several restaurant chains have implemented preventative measures for their staff.
Sarah Osment, director of Strategic Accounts, Large Mouth Communications, explained local Golden Corral restaurants are activating preventive measures such as immunization programs and daily reinforcement of proactive sanitizing measures.
Jace Stickdorn, managing director for Platinum Corral, stated, “As a preventive measure, we recently implemented a voluntary, free-of-charge Hepatitis A vaccination program for all of our employees at the following Golden Corral locations: 304 Upper River Road, Gallipolis, Ohio; 1302 Garfield Avenue, Parkersburg; 3761 North Pointe Drive, Zanesville, Ohio; 2296 N. Memorial Drive, Lancaster, Ohio; 1660 N. Bridge Street, Chillicothe, Ohio.
This was implemented in collaboration and communication with the Gallia County Health Department, Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department, Fairfield Department of Health and Ross County Health Department.
In addition, the chain is hosting daily meetings with staff to reinforce proactive sanitation measures, including regular-interval hand washing and utensil sanitation.
This is in addition to the program implemented in May at the following locations, in collaboration and communication with the Ashland Boyd County Health Department, Cabell-Huntington Health Department and Greenup County Health Department.
“The health and well-being of our guests and employees are top priorities at Golden Corral,” stated Stickdorn.
Also, Jennifer Thomas, nursing director and administrator at the Mason County Health Department, stated in a previous article, restaurants within Mason County started requiring their employees to get the Hepatitis A vaccination as well. Thomas recommends individuals regularly wash their hands as the disease is communicable.
Individuals can contact their primary physicians as well as their local health departments and pharmacies to ask about possible means of getting a Hepatitis A immunization.
The Meigs County Health Department has advised, as part of its weekly immunization clinic announcement on Thursday, that “The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) does NOT recommend routine Hepatitis A vaccination of Healthcare Workers. Additionally, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) does NOT recommend routine Hepatitis A vaccination for Food Workers. Currently, ODH is strongly recommending the following groups to get the Hepatitis A vaccine: men who have sex with men, persons who inject drugs and person who use illegal non-injection drugs. These are the highest risk groups for transmission of Hepatitis A.”
The Meigs County Health Department offers immunization clinics each Tuesday.
According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, Hepatitis A is usually transmitted person-to-person through the fecal-oral route or consumption of contaminated food or water.
The CDC explained Hepatitis A is a self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection. Most adults with Hepatitis A have symptoms, including fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and jaundice, that usually resolve within two months of infection. Most children less than 6 years of age do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection.
The CDC said if symptoms occur, they usually start appearing four weeks after exposure, but can occur as early as two and as late as seven weeks after exposure. The symptoms usually develop over a period of several days and usually last less than two months, although some people (10-15 percent) with Hepatitis A can have symptoms for as long as six months.
The CDC explained unvaccinated individuals who have been exposed recently, within two weeks, to the Hepatitis A virus should get the Hepatitis A vaccine or a shot of immune globulin to prevent severe illness. In order to treat the symptoms of Hepatitis A, doctors usually recommend rest, adequate nutrition, and fluids; however, some people will need medical care in a hospital. It can take a few months before people with Hepatitis A begin to feel better.
Erin Perkins, OVP Reporter, contributed to this article.