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Tipp. Co. Health Department Says Arni's Worker Had Hepatitis A

Gretchen Frazee
Indiana Public Media

Tippecanoe County Health Department officials are advising customers of a popular pizza place to get vaccinated against hepatitis A.

In a press release sent Wednesday, county health officials say an employee of the Arni's Pizza on Elmwood Avenue in Lafayette's Market Square had the disease while on the job two days last week -- Friday, September 13 and Saturday, September 14.

The employee in question had not yet been diagnosed with hepatitis A during their shifts, and the health department says the restaurant -- which is a financial supporter of WBAA -- has been thoroughly disinfected since.

The press release says it is uncommon for the disease to be passed by an infected food handler, but describes the symptoms and spread of Hep A this way:

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.

The county has scheduled two days of free immunizations next week for those who may have been exposed:

  • 8:00 AM-12:00 PM and 1:00-4:00 PM on Monday, September 23
  • 8:00 AM-12:00 PM and 1:00-7:00 PM on Tuesday, September 24

Anyone seeking the shots may visit the Tippecanoe County Health Department's offices at 629 N. 6th Street in Lafayette. Those who may have been exposed are advised to watch for symptoms of the disease for as many as 50 days after the date of contact.
EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified one day where the worker in question made food at the restaurant. It was Saturday, September 14, not Thursday, September 12.