Parke County health officials have investigated a case of hepatitis A in a food worker and have determined the risk of infection is very low for patrons who visited Deno’s Concession food truck at the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival in Bridgeton.

A news release on the health department's Facebook page said the food truck operator is working with the agency to prevent any new cases from arising in the community as a result of this case. Additional cases are unlikely, the release said.

The food truck was in operation at the festival from Oct. 16 to 20. An initial assessment did not find any critical health violations

Indiana is one of several states experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak. All residents are urged to consult their healthcare providers and pharmacies for hepatitis A vaccine as preventive care. Careful handwashing with soap and running water is also recommended, especially before preparing food.

As of Nov. 1, the state health department has confirmed 2,202 outbreak-related cases in Indiana, which typically sees about 20 cases in a 12-month period. None of the outbreak cases has been caused by an infected food worker.

Indiana law has required a hepatitis A vaccine for school admission since 2014, and the vaccine was required for students entering sixth and 12th grades in 2018, so many students have already been vaccinated.

Hepatitis A is usually transmitted person-to-person through fecal-oral routes or by consuming contaminated food or water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies those most at risk during this outbreak as people who use illicit drugs, the homeless, men who have sex with men, and those who are incarcerated.

Outbreak updates are available online at https://www.in.gov/isdh/27791.htm

Anyone exhibiting symptoms of hepatitis A should contact a healthcare provider immediately and refrain from preparing food for others. Symptoms can include fatigue, loss of appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and jaundice, which usually appear within two months of infection.

Individuals can become ill 15 to 50 days after being exposed to the virus. A doctor can determine if someone has hepatitis A with a blood test.

 

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