White Steamer employee with Hepatitis handled food there last week

 

        A worker at the White Steamer in downtown Washington who handled food there last week has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

        The Daviess County Health Department says while it is rare for restaurant patrons to get contract the disease due to an infected food handler; anyone who consumed food or drink at the White Steamer from May 12th to May 15th is recommended to get a vaccination within 14 days of exposure.   

        A free clinic will be held at the Washington National Guard Armory from 9 to 3 on Wednesday May 27th.   Face coverings will be required for entry into the clinic and you must stay in your car upon arrival.  Those who cannot attend that clinic should contact their doctor or the Daviess County Health Department at 812-254-8666. 

 

The following is the official news release from the Daviess County Health Department.

 

Daviess County health officials have diagnosed a case of hepatitis A in an
employee who handled food at The New White Steamer, 21 East Main Street, Washington, IN
47501, Tuesday, May 12 through Friday, May 15.

While it is relatively rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis A virus due to an
infected food handler, anyone who consumed food or drink at The New White Steamer in
Washington, IN, during these dates is recommended to receive a hepatitis A vaccination within 14
days of exposure as further protection from becoming ill. The New White Steamer is working
closely with health officials to prevent any new cases from arising as a result of this case. A
thorough disinfection of the restaurant has been conducted, and the restaurant is open for
business.

A free vaccination clinic is scheduled at The National Guard Armory, 500 NE 6th Street,
Washington, IN 47501 for those with potential exposure to hepatitis A from 5/12/20 to 5/15/20.
 CLINIC: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27, at the National Guard Armory, 500 NE
6 th Street, Washington, Indiana 47501. FACE COVERINGS WILL BE REQUIRED FOR
ENTRY INTO THE CLINIC, and YOU MUST STAY IN YOUR CAR UPON ARRIVAL.

Someone will come to you with the proper paperwork.
Those who can’t attend the vaccination clinic during the scheduled time should contact their
personal healthcare provider or contact the Daviess County Health Department for an
appointment at (812) 254-8666 before May 29. Vaccine must be administered within two weeks
after the last day of exposure.

Anyone who consumed food and/or drink at The New White Steamer on Wednesday, April 1,
through Friday, May 15, are also asked to:
 Monitor their health for symptoms of hepatitis A infection up to 50 days after exposure.
 Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after
using the bathroom and before preparing food.
 Stay at home and contact their healthcare provider immediately if symptoms of hepatitis A
infection develop.

Careful hand washing, including under the fingernails, with soap and water, along with vaccination
of anyone at risk of infection, will help prevent the spread of this disease.


Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever,
stomach pain, brown colored urine and light-colored stools. Yellowing of the skin or eyes may
also appear. People can become ill up to seven weeks after being exposed to the virus.
Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or
drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.
The virus spreads when an infected person does not wash his/her hands adequately after using
the toilet or engages in behaviors that increase risk of infection.

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

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.

Indiana health officials have been working to educate the public, restaurants, jails, groups that
serve homeless populations and those who use illicit drugs about the outbreak and ways to
prevent the disease. ISDH also provides outbreak updates on its website.