Kentucky school lunchroom worker diagnosed with hepatitis A

CHRISTIAN COUNTY, KY — As the hepatitis A outbreak continues in Kentucky, a west Kentucky elementary school food service employee has been diagnosed with the illness, a county health department says.

An employee who handled food at Indian Hills Elementary School in Christian County was diagnosed with hepatitis A on Wednesday, the Christian County Health Department said in a news release. The health department says the risk of anyone else who ate at the school becoming sick is low, but that the school is working with the health department taking precautions to protect others in the community from catching it. The school has notified parents and school staff.

In November 2017, the Kentucky Department of Public Health declared that hepatitis A had reached outbreak levels in the state. The outbreak is still ongoing.

Hepatitis A affects the liver. It spreads from eating food and water contaminated by particles of fecal matter or through contact with an infected person. It often spreads when an infected person does not wash their hands after using the bathroom. Symptoms include yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark-colored urine, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever and gray stool.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine says hepatitis A can spread quickly through day care centers and other places where people are in close contact with one another.

To prevent infection, wash your hands thoroughly — including under your fingernails — and avoid unclean food and water. You can also ask your doctor about getting the hepatitis A vaccine. For more information how to prevent hepatitis A, including recommended foods to avoid, click here.