Hepatitis A was diagnosed in an employee who handled food at Ruby Garden located at 812 S. Jefferson St. in Ava, Missouri. The investigation by the Douglas County Health Department found that this employee worked while infectious August 30-31. Ruby Garden is working with the Douglas County Health Department to prevent any new illnesses from arising in the community because of this case.
While it is uncommon for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, anyone who consumed food or drinks at Ruby Garden during the dates of August 30-31 is recommended to receive the hepatitis A vaccination within 14 days following the exposure as further protection from becoming ill. Persons who are concerned about the hepatitis A outbreak, but did not consume food or drink at the Ruby Garden during the dates noted are asked not to come to the vaccination clinics scheduled for patrons of the restaurant. For any questions or to schedule an appointment, contact the Douglas County Health Department at 417-683-4213.
The Douglas County Health Department will be providing vaccinations at no cost for patrons of Ruby Garden who consumed food or drink during the dates of August 30-31, at 608 NW 12th Ave, Ava, MO 65608 on:
- Saturday, Sept. 7; 9-11 a.m.
- Monday, Sept. 9; 9-11 a.m.
- Monday, Sept. 9; 1-4 p.m.
Anyone who consumed food or drink at Ruby Garden during the dates of Aug. 30-31, 2019, is 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 health care provider immediately if symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop.
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 might also occur. People can become ill up to 7 weeks after being exposed to the virus. If you think you have symptoms of hepatitis A, you should contact your health care provider.
Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool (poop) from an infected person. Careful handwashing with soap and water, including under the fingernails, after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing or eating food will help prevent the spread of this disease.