HORN LAKE, Miss. (localmemphis.com) – There’s concern for hundreds of people in DeSoto County, MS, after a Papa John’s worker recently tested positive for hepatitis A.
Those with theMississippi Health Department said people who ate from the Papa John’s at 906Goodman Road in Horn Lake, MS between January 28th and February 11th may havebeen exposed to the virus.
The news wasespecially unsettling for customers who learned Wednesday they ate from therestaurant during that possible hepatitis A exposure timeframe.
“Seeing itwas here locally it was like, wow, you know, that’s kind of a bit of concern,”Brian Edwards said.
Scrolling hisnews feed Wednesday morning, Edwards saw Papa John’s, Horn Lake, and HepatitisA – and checked his records.
“I was like ‘wellwe had just ordered from there’, so I looked back to see when we had eatenthere and it was February 10th,” Edwards said.
Edwards wasn’talone. He andhundreds of others who ate from the restaurant between January 28th andFebruary 11th are at risk of possible exposure to Hepatitis A, after a workertested positive.
Doctors saidthose who ate there between February 6th and 11th can still be vaccinated, andthose who ate between January 28th and February 5th are asked to see a doctorif they feel sick.
“It was alittle concerning at first, you know, that it was out there,” Edwards said.
Hepatitis A is acontagious liver disease which can be deadly. Symptoms include fever, nausea,yellowing of the skin and abdominal pain.
“You canactually spread it for a few weeks prior to acquiring the disease, until abouta week after you become symptomatic,” Baptist DeSoto Chief Medical Officer Dr.JoAnn Wood said.
Health expertssaid the best way to prevent the spread of Hepatitis A is with through handwashing.
Those who think they may have been exposed to this case can receive a hepatitis A vaccination free of charge from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 20th and Friday, February 21st at the DeSoto County Health Department, 8705 Northwest Drive, Building A, Suite 1 in Southaven.
Concerned customers can call Papa John’s customer care hotline at 877-311-4861.
Statement from Papa John’s:
“Papa John’s is committed to the health and safety of our employees and guests and working closely with the Health Department. Papa John’s is continuing to uphold a commitment to the highest health and food safety standards within all restaurants, which includes the Horn Lake community restaurant. The employee in question is on leave and will not return to work until cleared by the Health Department. All food and supplies have been discarded and new supplies and food are in use. While the risk of contracting Hepatitis A from Papa John’s is very low, people who have not been vaccinated against Hepatitis A and have consumed food between January 28th – February 11th, should consider getting the Hepatitis A vaccine not more than two weeks from the potential exposure to help prevent infection. Papa John’s is encouraging guests as well as the public, who may have questions or concerns, to reach out to our customer care line at 877-311-4861.”
(MS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH NEWS RELEASE) – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is investigating a case of hepatitis A in a DeSoto County restaurant employee which may have led to possible exposure for customers.
An employee of Papa John’s Pizza in Horn Lake, 906 Goodman Road, has been diagnosed with hepatitis A infection. While infectious, the employee worked at the restaurant from January 28 – February 11, 2020. Customers who ate at the restaurant or received a pizza delivery on those days may have been exposed to hepatitis A.
Vaccination can prevent hepatitis A only if given within 14 days of exposure. Because those who ate at the restaurant (or received a pizza delivery) between January 28th and February 5th would have been exposed more than 14 days ago, they should watch for any possible symptoms of hepatitis A and see their doctor if they become ill. Those who ate at the restaurant or had pizza delivered from February 6th to February 11th should get a hepatitis A vaccination if they have not been previously vaccinated.
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 20th and Friday, February 21st at the De Soto County Health Department, 8705 Northwest Drive, Building A, Suite 1 in Southaven.
“The risk of transmission of hepatitis A in this situation is likely very low. 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,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.
“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.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that causes fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), abdominal pain and dark colored urine. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool (feces) from an infected person. If you think you have symptoms of hepatitis A, you should contact your healthcare provider.
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.
As a 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.
Follow information about the current hepatitis A outbreak in Mississippi at HealthyMS.com/HepA.