People who had a beverage at Trento, a restaurant in East Farmingdale, New York, in mid- to late July may have been exposed to hepatitis A.
The Suffolk County Health Services Department said people who were exposed may be eligible for free treatment, Newsday reports.
Treatment can help prevent or lessen the severity of the illness when given within two weeks of exposure, so a vaccine or immune globulin was being offered to people who had beverages at Trento on July 29 or 30, the health department said.
A worker at the restaurant had the infectious virus and possibly exposed people who drank beverages there on July 19, 23, 26, 29 or 30, the department said. When health officials made their announcement, it was too late for preventive treatment for people who had been exposed before July 29. The health department said anyone who becomes sick should see a doctor, according to Newsday.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection. The virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation and affect the liver’s ability to function. People are most likely to contract hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with someone who’s infected, the Mayo Clinic explains. An infected restaurant worker who handles food or beverages can spread the infection.
Hepatitis A symptoms typically do not appear until the person has had the virus for a few weeks. Symptoms may include:
- nausea and vomiting
- abdominal pain or discomfort
- clay-colored bowel movements
- loss of appetite
- low-grade fever
- dark urine
- joint pain
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
Mild cases of hepatitis A do not require treatment. Most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage.
The Mayo Clinic says good hygiene—including frequent hand washing—is one of the best ways to protect against hepatitis A.