Greene County Public Health responds to statewide Hepatitis A outbreak

Local News

GREENE COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – The Greene County Public Health Department has investigated one instance of a food operations employee being diagnosed with Hepatitis A this year.

Health officials with the department say there was little to no risk to other employees or customers, and they are taking steps like disseminating more information to the public during the statewide community outbreak.

Jeff Webb heads up Greene County Public Health’s environmental division which oversees food operation inspections.

He said it is not a state requirement for employees to be vaccinated, but some companies do require it.

He added Public Health’s mission is to educate restaurants of signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A and the proper course of action.

“If the person in charge or manager is aware of it, then it’s their responsibility to notify us and to also exclude that person from food handling,” said Webb.

Since the beginning of 2018, Greene County has seen 23 cases of Hepatitis A.

In the instance of the food employee’s diagnosis, Amy Schmitt, a registered nurse who handles communicable disease reporting, said they thoroughly investigated the matter and are providing more information to restaurants during this outbreak.

“That investigation, we spent a lot of time and we thought we might have to vaccinate, but in the end we did not because the facts showed us there was not a very high risk of transmission,” said Schmitt.

She said they are also being more vocal about vaccines throughout the community, because the more vaccinated, the better, using the term herd immunity.

“Is it related to being exposed this time? No, but it’s going to protect you if you’re exposed in the future,” said Schmitt.

Schmitt said they are also hosting information sessions with the environmental division to show signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A along with other groups in the community. 

If you have any questions, call them at (937) 374-5600. 

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