Knox County Hepatitis A exposure warning issued

Knox County health officials have investigated a case of hepatitis A in an employee who handled food at Buffalo Wild Wings located at 2407 North 6th Street in Vincennes.

The investigation found that this employee worked while ill or prepared food for consumption on June 30, 2019 and July 1, 2019.

No cases have been reported in Dubois County but the Dubois County Health Department wanted to ensure the public was aware of the potential exposure for anyone that ate at the restaurant on those days.

While it is relatively rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, anyone who consumed food or drink at Buffalo Wild Wings in Vincennes during these dates is recommended to receive a hepatitis A vaccination within 14 days of exposure as further protection from becoming ill. Buffalo Wild Wings is working closely with health officials to prevent any new cases from arising as a result of this case and the restaurant is open for business. Thorough disinfection of the restaurant was completed and the establishment was approved to reopen.

The Knox County Board of Health is working closely with the Indiana State Department of Health and Buffalo Wild Wings to make every effort to assure that no one is adversely affected by this occurrence.

A vaccination clinic is scheduled at the Knox County Health Department Immunization Clinic, 305 South 5th Street, Vincennes, IN for those with potential exposure to hepatitis A during the specified dates. The vaccine must be administered within two weeks after the last day of exposure. The vaccine is being provided by the State of Indiana at NO CHARGE. Affected individuals who live in Illinois may come to the clinic to get vaccine.

The Clinic will be held on Friday, July 12, 2019, from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. If you have already been vaccinated within the last 10 years you do not need to be revaccinated. A hotline has been established at the Knox County Health Department to answer questions that individuals may have, 812-885-8413.

Those who can’t attend the vaccination clinics during the scheduled times should contact their personal medical provider or contact local pharmacies for vaccine availability.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown-colored urine, and light-colored stools. Yellowing of the skin or eyes may also appear. People can become ill up to 7 weeks after being exposed to the virus.

Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. The virus spreads when an infected person does not wash his/her hands adequately after using the toilet or engages in behaviors that increase risk of infection.

Indiana is one of several states experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak, so all residents are urged to consult their healthcare providers and pharmacies for a hepatitis A vaccine as preventive care. Careful handwashing with soap and running water is also recommended, especially before preparing food.
Indiana law has required a hepatitis A vaccine for school admission since 2014, and the vaccine was required for students entering sixth and 12th grades in 2018, so many students have already been vaccinated.

Indiana health officials have been working to educate the public, restaurants, jails, groups that serve homeless populations and those who use illicit drugs about the outbreak and ways to prevent the disease. ISDH also provides outbreak updates on its website.

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