UPDATE: Health professionals open hotline for Hepatitis concerns
After an employee for both Waffle House locations in Boyd County was diagnosed with Hepatitis A, health officials at King's Daughters Medical Center in Ashland say they have been flooded with calls from concerned customers who fear they may have been exposed.
The Boyd County Health Department says the window of exposure was from Feb. 12 to 28. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it can take up to 50 days from exposure to Hepatitis A for symptoms to develop.
Now health officials are answering those concerns and working to get everyone who may have been exposed, quick treatment.
"Our initial action plan was for us to protect our public that had actually eaten at the Waffle House," said Lisa Fritz. "It was really important for us to make sure that those people who were potentially exposed would know that they needed to get the vaccine."
Fritz is the infection protection and control coordinator at KDMC and says commonly when people hear the word, 'hepatitis.' they think the worst. But with Hepatitis A, she says the worst you will see is nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and a jaundice skin.
Fritz says it takes about two months to fully shake the virus, and for the first week or so you develop symptoms you should stay away from others. If you may have been exposed, and haven't been vaccinated before, you need to as soon as possible. You are contagious prior to showing symptoms.
"We have to take care of those who were potentially exposed first," said Fritz. "So we want to make sure that only if you ate there, that you are the one getting the vaccination first. Anyone in your family that comes in contact with you once you develop the symptoms, then they need the vaccine."
Fritz says most children should be in the clear, especially if they are up to date with their vaccinations.
"Check their immunization records, make sure everything is okay there. If they've been vaccinated, let that not be your concern."
Fritz says KDMC is working with the health department and the CDC to make sure there are enough vaccinations. While vaccinations are covered by insurance, Fritz says the vaccinations from the CDC would be free.
They are also scheduled to go to schools in the area throughout March to make sure students are up to date on all vaccinations.
WSAZ reached out to Waffle House for a statement. They say, "First of all, we are glad that our associate is doing well and will be fine. Once alerted to the situation, we immediately started working with the local health department to get our associates vaccinated and let people know of the situation. We appreciate the support of the health department and all who have helped our associates during this time."
Waffle House also says the health department has told them no one has contracted Hepatitis A from eating there and all other associates were given the vaccine.
The number for the KDMC Hotline is (606) 408-8913.
People who've eaten at two Waffle Houses in Boyd County may want to get in touch with their doctor.
The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department is warning customers about possible exposure to Hepatitis A.
They say an employee who works at two Waffle Houses in Boyd County was diagnosed with Hepatitis A on Tuesday.
The agency says the window of exposure was from Feb. 12 to 28.
Maria Hardy, the public health director, says many people can be exposed but not develop the disease.
She says symptoms could include nausea and vomiting.
"They need to contact their primary care provider, or they can go to a local pharmacy to get a vaccine," Hardy said.
Fort Gay resident James Lively ate at the Waffle House along U.S. 23 in late February.
"I'm not worried per se," Lively said. "It's gonna run its course, if God forbid I have it. I'm going tomorrow to get my vaccination, and everything will be OK, but what about all the people on the streets who don't have access to healthcare?"
Louisa resident Joshua Ratliff also ate at that Waffle House in late February with his pregnant wife. He says their doctor was out of the office Wednesday, but they'll be calling him Thursday.
"They should test all of their employees just to make sure their employees don't have anything to give to the community," Ratliff said.
A food service worker employed at both Waffle House locations in Boyd County was diagnosed with Hepatitis A, and the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department is warning the public about possible exposure.
The agency says the window of exposure was from Feb. 12 to 28. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it can take up to 50 days from exposure to Hepatitis A for symptoms to develop.
All employees at the affected Waffle Houses have since received post-exposure Hepatitis A injections, the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department said Wednesday.
The CDC reports that Hepatitis A is a virus transmitted from person-to-person in different ways, including consumption of contaminated food or water.
Hepatitis A does not result in chronic infection. Symptoms may include fatigue, poor appetite, stomach pain, nausea and jaundice.
The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department reports that a post-exposure vaccine must be given within two weeks of exposure. The last date for the post-exposure vaccine in this case is March 13.
King’s Daughters Medical Center reports that it has received calls from many concerned parents about their child's potential exposure to Hepatitis A. It says its Our Walk-In Care for Schools program will be visiting all member schools in March for vaccinations.
Parents with questions can call based on their school system at the numbers below:
Ashland Independent Schools, 606-408-8921
Boyd County Schools, 606-408-8920
Carter County Schools, 606-475-5500
Fairview Independent Schools, 606-408-8922
Rose Hill Christian School, 606-408-8923