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Ruby Garden Re-Opens After Hepatitis A Incident

Michael Boyink/Herald Ruby Garden, at 812 S Jefferson St in Ava, is open for business after the Douglas County Health Department confirmed a case of hepatitis A in an employee last week.

by Michael Boyink /

According to a statement issued by the Douglas County Health department on Friday, September 6th, a case of hepatitis A was confirmed in a food service worker at Ruby Garden in Ava. 

The Missouri Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Department has been investigating involving increased cases of hepatitis A that began in early August.

According to DHHS, 35 Missouri counties have reported a total of 414 cases of hepatitis A since September 2017.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can be spread when the virus enters the mouth after someone touches an object, food or drink that is contaminated by the feces of an infected person. Symptoms of infection include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice and abdominal pain. 

As a precaution here in Ava, the Douglas County Health Department provided free vaccinations for patrons of Ruby Garden who consumed food or drink during the dates of Aug. 30-31.

According to Valerie Reese, Douglas County Health Department Administrator, “Between our clinics last Saturday and Monday, we treated 451 adults and 69 children.”

If you feel you may have been exposed at Ruby Garden and didn’t make it to the scheduled clinic, Reese recommends you continue to pursue a vaccination.

“For those individuals who are unvaccinated and have been exposed to the virus,” she says, “The Centers for Disease Control recommend postexposure vaccination as soon as possible, within 2 weeks of exposure.”

In addition to the County Health Department, vaccinations can be sourced from your healthcare provider or local pharmacy.

As for Ruby Garden, it’s back to business as usual.

“The State of Missouri came in and inspected our facilities,” says restaurant owner May Kim. “They  cleared us to open again.” Kim noted that the restaurant was celebrating its 26th anniversary this year.