Worker at Washington, Mo. Bob Evans diagnosed with Hepatitis A; mass vaccination planned

File photo

WASHINGTON, Mo. – A food handler at a Washington Bob Evans restaurant was recently diagnosed with Hepatitis A, prompting the Franklin County Health Department to announce a round of vaccinations for people who recently dined there.

This employee worked at the restaurant during the timeframe of August 3 and August 10. Anyone who consumed any food or drink at the Bob Evans (3151 Phoenix Center Drive) between August 3 and August 12 is advised to receive a vaccination from the county health department.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. It can cause nausea, fever, loss of appetite, stomach pain, brown-colored urine, and light-colored stool. People can become ill up to 7 weeks after being exposed to the virus.

Hepatitis A typically spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drink contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.

Health officials said those infected often also live a high-risk lifestyle involving homelessness and intravenous drug use. They said it is uncommon for someone to become infected because of an infected food handler but a vaccine will be offered as a precaution.

Vaccines will be administered at the Franklin County Health Department (414 East Main Street) in Union on Friday, August 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, August 17 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

This is the third Hepatitis A scare at a Franklin County restaurant in recent months. In June, an employee at the Jack in the Box near the Bourbeuse River Access in Union, Missouri tested positive for the infection. In July, the health department warned an employee at Roadhouse 100 tested positive.

For any questions or to schedule an appointment, contact the Franklin County Health Department at 636-583-7300. For further information about Hepatitis A, visit health.mo.gov.

The Bob Evans Risk Management Team issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

“We are committed to the health and safety of our employees and guests and we are working closely with the Franklin County Health Department to ensure each of their safety and well-being.  Because the illness can be contagious for up to two weeks prior to the onset of symptoms, all Bob Evans employees at the restaurant will be vaccinated prior to their return to work and all new hires will be vaccinated moving forward. While it is uncommon for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, anyone who consumed food or drink at this Bob Evans restaurant during Aug. 3-12, 2019, is recommended to receive vaccination by Aug. 17 as further protection from becoming ill. Bob Evans has set-up a dedicated toll-free phone line for those who may have questions or issues. We encourage our guests with questions to reach out to us at 888-719-5061. As of Aug. 12, 2019, 400 cases of Hepatitis A virus infection have been linked to the outbreak in Missouri and over 23,000+ across the US.”

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