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Public Health

Posted on: June 25, 2019

Potential Exposure to Hepatitis A Virus at a Schuyler County Restaurant

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Updated 7/8/19 dd: Treatment is only effective at preventing infection within two weeks of exposure. Those who ate at the restaurant between June 11 and June 21 and did not receive treatment are encouraged to monitor themselves and their families for symptoms for 50 days after consuming the food. Symptoms may include: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark-colored urine, clay-colored stools, joint pain, or jaundice. If you have any symptoms, contact your healthcare provider and be sure to tell them that you may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

People who ate at the Seneca Harbor Station restaurant (3 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891) between June 11 and June 21 were potentially exposed to hepatitis A. Most people do not get sick when an employee at a restaurant has hepatitis A, but there is still a risk. People who may have been exposed should receive treatment to prevent infection.

“While the risk of infection is low, anyone who may have eaten at the restaurant during this timeframe should check their immunization status and come to one of our clinics or visit their healthcare provider if necessary” said Schuyler County Public Health Director Deborah Minor, RN, MPH.

As a result of this potential hepatitis A exposure, Schuyler County Public Health is advising anyone who ate food at the restaurant on June 21 to receive a free hepatitis A vaccine during one of the upcoming vaccine clinics. The clinics will be held at the Schuyler County Human Services Complex (323 Owego St, Montour Falls, NY 14865) on the following days and times:

  • June 26 from 2-7PM
  • June 27 from Noon to 6PM
  • June 28 from Noon to 4PM

The hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin is only effective within two weeks of exposure to the virus. People who ate at the Seneca Harbor Station restaurant on June 21 (and have not been previously vaccinated against hepatitis A) should receive the hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin as soon as possible. Pre-registration for the clinic is encouraged. Visit www.health.ny.gov/go2clinic to pre-register. If you cannot pre-register, please bring your driver’s license or another form of identification.

Those who ate at the Seneca Harbor Station restaurant on June 11-20 may have been exposed but will not benefit from hepatitis A vaccine to prevent infection from this exposure and are encouraged to monitor themselves and their families for symptoms for 50 days after consuming the food. Symptoms may include: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark-colored urine, clay-colored stools, joint pain, or jaundice. If you have any symptoms, contact your healthcare provider and be sure to tell them that you may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

The owner and staff at the restaurant are complying with all recommendations from the state and local health department. The restaurant is currently open and there is no risk to eating there at this time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What happened? An employee at the Seneca Harbor Station restaurant tested positive for hepatitis A.
  2. What does this mean? Most people do not get sick when an employee at a restaurant has hepatitis A, but there is still a risk. We are providing treatment for people who may have been exposed.
  3. Is there anyone to blame? No, the employee followed all proper handwashing and food safety techniques, so the risk of infection is low. However, we are erring on the side of caution by treating the people who may have been exposed. The restaurant owner and staff are complying with all recommendations from the state and local health department. The restaurant is currently open and there is no risk to eating there at this time.
  4. What is hepatitis A? Hepatitis A is an acute liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus.
  5. How do you get hepatitis A? Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person ingests the virus unknowingly from objects, foods or drinks contaminated by the virus.
  6. How serious is hepatitis A? Most people that get diagnosed with hepatitis A may feel sick for weeks, but most usually recover completely and do not have long-term liver damage. In some rare cases, typically for people over the age of 50 or with pre-existing liver conditions, hepatitis A may cause liver failure and potentially death.
  7. What are we doing to treat it? We are treating people who may have been exposed by giving them Postexposure Prophylaxis, which is either an injection of the hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin. These treatments are only effective if given within the first two weeks after exposure.
  8. Who needs this treatment? People who ate at Seneca Harbor Restaurant on June 21. This does not include if you just had a drink at the bar. It also does not include Captain Bill’s lunch or dinner cruises as they have a separate kitchen. Only people who ate at the Seneca Harbor Restaurant located at 3 N Franklin St in Watkins Glen may have been exposed.
  9. What if it is too late for someone to receive the treatment or they decide they do not want to receive treatment? People who are unable to receive the treatment or decide not to are encouraged to monitor themselves and their families for symptoms for 50 days after consuming the food. Symptoms may include: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark-colored urine, clay-colored stools, joint pain, or jaundice. If you have any symptoms, contact your healthcare provider and be sure to tell them that you may have been exposed to hepatitis A.
  10. When can people attend a clinic? The clinics are taking placing at the Human Services Complex located at 323 Owego St in Montour Falls. Clinic times are:
    • June 26 from 2-7PM
    • June 27 from Noon to 6PM
    • June 28 from Noon to 4PM
  11. What should people know before coming to a clinic?
    • Preregistration is encouraged as it will speed up how long it takes for people to get their treatment. These are not appointment times, they will help reduce wait times for everyone by reducing how many questions they have to answer before getting their treatment.
    • Please be aware that this building has security and you will need to go through a metal detector when you arrive. This is normal for the building.
    • When you arrive, there will be people helping to direct you where you need to go. After you wait in line, you will be sent to a table with a nurse and another staff person who will complete any remaining screening questions with you and administer the treatment you need. Please try to wear short sleeves and shorts if possible as this will make administering the treatment easier and quicker. You will then wait about 15 minutes, so we can make sure you are okay. Then you are able to leave and are protected from the hepatitis A virus.

For more information:

Pre-register...
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