DeKalb County Health Department investigating Hepatitis A exposure at Martin’s Tavern

GARRETT, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – DeKalb County Health officials are working to prevent the spread of Hepatitis A after they learned an employee at a Garrett restaurant was infected.

Earlier this month, the DeKalb County Health Department says an employee who handles food at Martin’s Tavern in Garrett was diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

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.

The infectious period that this employee worked was on February 1,2,5,6,7,8 and 9th.

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 Martin’s Tavern on Feb. 7th, 8th or 9th is recommended to receive vaccination by Feb. 23 as further protection from becoming ill.

Health officials say Martin’s Tavern is working with them to prevent any new cases from coming up in the community as a result of this case.

The vaccine must be administered within two weeks after the last date of exposure. Individuals who consumed food or drink before Feb. 7 are outside of the window for post-exposure prevention and are advised to monitor for symptoms.

Vaccinations are being administered at the DeKalb County Health Department at 220 East 7th Street Suite 110, Auburn Indiana for those with potential exposure to Hepatitis A during the specified dates:

Friday, February 22nd – 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Saturday, February 23rd – 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Anyone who consumed food and/or drinks at the Martin’s Tavern on 2/1/19, 2/2/19, 2/5/19, 2/6/19, 2/7/19, 2/8/19 and 2/9/19 is also asked to:

  1.  Monitor their health for symptoms of Hepatitis A infection up to 50 days after exposure.
  2. Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
  3. Stay at home and contact their healthcare provider immediately if symptoms of Hepatitis A infection develop.

“The DeKalb County Health Department is responding as quickly as possible to this Hepatitis A exposure. The late discovery of this confirmed hepatitis A case has narrowed our window of response. We are in close contact with our advisory authority, the State Board of Health, to formulate a rapid and thorough response,” DeKalb County Health Officer, Dr. Mark Souder said in a statement.

Health officials say washing your hands with soap and water and getting vaccinated will help stop the spread of the disease.

People can become ill up to 7 weeks after being exposed to the virus.

CDC recommends Hepatitis A vaccination for the following groups:
• All children at age 1 year
• Travelers to countries that have high rates of Hepatitis A
• Family members and caregivers of recent adoptees from countries where Hepatitis A is common
• Men who have sexual contact with other men
• People who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs
• People with chronic (lifelong) liver diseases, such as Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C
• People who are treated with clotting-factor concentrates
• People who work with Hepatitis A infected animals or in a Hepatitis A research laboratory

Anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of Hepatitis A should contact a healthcare provider immediately and refrain from preparing food for others.

Symptoms can include fatigue, loss of appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and jaundice, which usually appear within two months of infection.

Individuals can become ill 15 to 50 days after being exposed to the virus.

A doctor can determine if someone has Hepatitis A with a blood test.

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at Fort Wayne's NBC. She also serves as the weekend producer on NBC.

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