By ShaCamree Gowdy | February 19, 2020 at 9:20 AM CST – Updated February 19 at 4:50 PM
HORN LAKE, Miss. (WLBT) – The Mississippi State Department of Health is investigating its third case of hepatitis A in the state.
The infection is in a DeSoto County restaurant employee and may have led to possible exposure for customers.
An employee of Papa John’s Pizza located at 906 Goodman Road in Horn Lake has been diagnosed with hepatitis A infection. Customers who ate at the restaurant or received a pizza delivery between January 28 and February 11 may have been exposed.
“The risk of transmission of hepatitis A in this situation is likely very low,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “However, as a precaution, we recommend that anyone who ate food from this restaurant between February 6th and February 11th should consider getting a hepatitis A vaccination if they have not done so already. And again, those who may have been exposed between January 28th and February 5th should watch for any possible symptoms of hepatitis A and see their doctor if they become ill.”
Those who think they may have been exposed to this case can receive a hepatitis A vaccination free of charge from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, February 20 and Friday, February 21 at the DeSoto County Health Department. It’s located at 8705 Northwest Drive, Building A, Suite 1 in Southaven.
Vaccination can prevent hepatitis A only if given within 14 days of exposure. Customers who ate at the restaurant or received a pizza delivery between the dates of exposure would have been exposed more than 14 days ago, so they should watch for any possible symptoms of hepatitis A and see their doctor if they become ill. Customers who ate at the restaurant or had pizza delivered from February 6 through February 11 should get a hepatitis A vaccination if they have not been previously vaccinated.
“The management and staff of the Papa John’s are fully cooperating with MSDH to prevent illnesses as a result of this exposure,” said Byers.
Everyone can prevent the spread of hepatitis A by carefully washing hands with soap and water, including under the fingernails, after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.
REMINDER: There is an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in Mississippi and surrounding states affecting those who use drugs, those who are in jail or were recently in jail, those with unstable housing or who are homeless, and men who have sex with men. The MSDH continues to recommend hepatitis A vaccination for those specific groups as well.
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