It's only been a few weeks since the city's last big Hepatitis A scare, but the Department of Health says several people have been infected with the disease after eating at an Asian restaurant in the Bronx, and they're urging the restaurant's recent patrons to get checked out immediately.
Four customers and one employee at New Hawaii Sea Restaurant in Williamsbridge have confirmed cases of Hep A, and health officials say any patrons who ate at the restaurant, either in-store, through takeout or catering, between between September 7 and 19 should be vaccinated. "We are asking all restaurant patrons and employees to get this vaccination as soon as possible,” Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in a statement. “If people experience symptoms, they should see a doctor immediately."
Symptoms of Hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea, and they tend to develop within 15 to 50 days of exposure. The virus can be spread by eating food that has been contaminated by an infected person. "This incident serves as an important reminder to always wash your hands thoroughly before handling food to prevent the spread of disease," Farley said.
The restaurant has been shuttered temporarily, and the DOH will be offering free vaccinations at at the Herbert Lehman High School at 3000 East Tremont Avenue in Bronx today and tomorrow from 2-8 p.m.; the virus can be prevented by vaccination within 14 days of exposure, or if you've been vaccinated twice in your lifetime.
This is the city's second major Hepatitis scare in a month— in August, patrons of Westside Market on the UWS faced a Hepatitis A scare when a food handler became infected with the virus.