PUTNAM-COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – While health workers in the Kanawha Valley are encouraging all workers in the food sector to receive the hepatitis A vaccine, some restaurants have already begun to be proactive.
"As a family business, we are a part of the community, we are involved in the community, we live in the community," says Karen Workman, co-owner of the Hidden Creek restaurant in London hurricane. She runs the restaurant with her husband, and although they are not affected by the hepatitis A outbreak, they take extra precautions to make sure it stays that way.
In the midst of a national hepatitis A outbreak that is making its rounds in the Kanawha Valley, all of its employees have already received the hepatitis A vaccine. The restaurant covered the costs on demand, even for those who did not work near food.
Their efforts precede the state's push to vaccinate all catering workers in the districts of Kanawha and Putnam.
The West Virginia Department of Health has asked the Kanawha country to provide hepatitis A vaccination clinics for hospitality workers
So far, eight food companies in the counties of Kanawha, Putnam, and Cabell have been identified as having a food service worker the disease was confirmed.
DHHR reports that in each of these cases a history of drug use was identified at the employee. To date, no customer of these restaurants has become ill through the food.
Workman says prevention is the key, but for those restaurants where a worker has infected the virus, she hopes her clients will give them a second chance.
"Hopefully this will die out, Hep A will leave the area, but I would encourage people to continue supporting their small business and supporting these businesses because it's their livelihood and being an important part of it in the community." says Workman.
Mass hospitals for these employees in the counties of Kanawha and Putnam are planned as follows:
- 25. May at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department; 8:00 am ̵
- 30. May at the Charleston Civic Center; 8.00 – 18.00
- 1. June at the St. George Conference Center (Court and Lee Streets); 8 am – 6 pm