September 20, 2013 – In response to cases of hepatitis A infections in an employee and four customers at New Hawaii Sea restaurant, located at 1475 Williamsbridge Road in the Bronx, the Health Department is urging customers who ate at the restaurant, either in-store, through catering or delivery, between September 7th and September 19th to receive hepatitis A vaccine as soon as possible. Any leftover food from this restaurant should also be discarded.
Hepatitis A is spread by eating food (even though it might look clean) that has been contaminated by an infected person. Symptoms include jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. People typically develop symptoms of hepatitis A infection about one month (range is 15 to 50 days) after they are exposed to the virus. If people are vaccinated within 14 days of exposure, vaccination can prevent the disease from occurring.
Any person who ate at New Hawaii Sea, either in-store, through catering or delivery, between September 7th and September 19th is considered at risk and is recommended to receive hepatitis A vaccine as soon as possible. Any person who ate food from this restaurant before September 7th should be evaluated if they have symptoms suggestive of infection. The Health Department is working with the restaurant to ensure that all the food handlers are vaccinated. The restaurant is cooperating fully with the Health Department and will remain closed until enough employees are vaccinated to reopen safely.
People can visit their regular doctor to receive this shot. The Health Department will offer hepatitis A vaccinations starting tomorrow, September 21st at the Herbert Lehman High School, 3000 East Tremont Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461 at the following times:
Saturday, September 21, 2013 from 2-8 pm
Sunday, September 22, 2013 from 2-8 pm
Monday, September, 23 from 6-10 pm
For vaccination clinic updates to your mobile device, text HEPA to 877877.
People who have health insurance should bring their insurance information. People who do not have health insurance will receive vaccine free of charge. Women who are pregnant will not be treated at our site and should consult their doctor as far as potential vaccination. People with immune-compromising conditions should consult their doctor to discuss whether to receive vaccine or a different preventive treatment.
People who were exposed but have already received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine sometime in their life do not need another shot; all others should be vaccinated.
“We are asking all restaurant patrons and employees to get this vaccination as soon as possible,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “If people experience symptoms, they should see a doctor immediately. This incident serves as an important reminder to always wash your hands thoroughly before handling food to prevent the spread of disease.”
Hepatitis type A is a liver disease caused by a virus. It is spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth (even though it might look clean) that has been contaminated with traces of fecal matter from an infected person. There are no special medicines or antibiotics that can be used to treat a person once the symptoms appear. While some people who have chronic liver disease or a weakened immune system could experience more severe illness and require hospitalization, hepatitis A is rarely fatal (fewer than 1% of cases).
In order for the vaccine to be most effective in preventing disease, people should be vaccinated within 14 days. The earlier the vaccine is given, the more effective it is in preventing the disease.
About the Investigation
The Health Department investigates all cases of hepatitis A in New York City. The Department was notified of this case on September 19, began the investigation, and inspected the restaurant that day. An average of 50-60 cases of hepatitis A are reported to the Health Department in New York City each year, with 1-2 occurring in food handlers.
For more information on Hepatitis A, please visit: Hepatitis A, B & C