The Licking County Health Department has identified a confirmed case of Hepatitis A in an employee at the Little Caesars Pizza in Newark.

Only one case has been identified, which does not constitute an outbreak, and after review of the food handling processes at the facility, the health department has determined the issue represents a very low risk to public health.

The facility closed voluntarily on July 30 to conduct extensive cleaning and facility repairs, and LCHD has worked with the facility to schedule a clinic to offer Hepatitis A vaccinations to all of the facility’s staff members.

“These steps were taken out of an abundance of caution, and the facility has been fully cooperative during this investigation,” health department officials said.

Foodborne Hepatitis A outbreaks are uncommon, according to the CDC.

The most common way Hepatitis A is spread is from ingesting something that has come into contact with the feces from an infected person.

The Ohio Administrative Code requires that a person with hepatitis A who works in a sensitive occupation shall be excluded from work in the sensitive occupation until ten days after initial onset of symptoms, according to the health department.

Individuals who are at an increased risk of contracting Hepatitis A include:

  • Persons with direct contact with persons who have hepatitis A
  • Travelers to countries with high or intermediate rates of hep A infection
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Users of injection and non-injection drugs
  • Persons with clotting factor disorders
  • Persons working with nonhuman primates
  • Household members and other close personal contacts of adopted children newly arriving from countries with high or intermediate hepatitis A rates

LCHD recommends that these individuals, and anyone that wants to be protected from contracting Hepatitis A, receive the Hepatitis A vaccine.  Anyone wishing to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A can contact the Health Department at (740) 349-6535.

LCHD also recommends that all county residents practice good personal hygiene, specifically proper handwashing, to protect against not only Hepatitis A, but other diseases as well.