Hepatitis A Advisory Issued for Saratoga County Restaurant

Possible Hepatitis A Exposure for Some Patrons of Ripe Tomato Restaurant

Albany, NY, August 20, 2004 — The New York State Department of Health today announced a confirmed case of hepatitis A in a food worker employed at the Ripe Tomato Restaurant located at 2721 Route 9 in Malta. Patrons who ate foods at the Ripe Tomato containing any garnish, such as a lemon slice, parsley, chives or scallions during the hours of 5:30 - 10:00 PM on Saturday, August 7, Monday, August 9 and Tuesday, August 10 should receive an immune globulin shot. All dinner entrees served at this restaurant contain a garnish.

Even if the garnish was not consumed there could still be a potential risk of hepatitis A exposure to patrons. Hepatitis A exposure can occur in cases in which people consume ready-to-eat food that was handled by someone who is infected.

Immune globulin is most effective if given very soon after exposure and is not beneficial beyond 14 days after exposure. Patrons who may have been exposed to the disease on the days and times noted above should contact their local health department to arrange to receive an immune globulin shot. The Saratoga County Public Health Department is offering shots over the next few days at its offices located at 31 Woodlawn Avenue in Saratoga Springs. The schedule for walk-in visits is as follows:

  • Friday, August 20 – 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Saturday, August 21 – 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Monday, August 23 – 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Patrons at the restaurant eating foods containing garnishes between Friday, July 30 and Wednesday, August 4 may also be at risk of exposure to hepatitis A. Because the exposure is beyond the 14 day protective period, shots are not recommended. The immune globulin shot is known to be most beneficial to patients if given within two weeks following exposure. These individuals should be on alert for possible symptoms of hepatitis A and contact their health care provider if symptoms develop.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the liver. Symptoms include fever and vomiting, jaundice (yellowing of skin), fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort and dark urine. People can be contagious prior to developing any symptoms for hepatitis A. Most people recover without severe complications. However, there is an increased risk for persons over 50 years of age with chronic liver disease who have contracted hepatitis A.

The New York State Health Department is investigating this case and the restaurant is cooperating fully. The infected food worker stopped working immediately. There is no current risk of ongoing exposure to workers and patrons. People with questions may contact their local health department or the State Health Department's toll-free number at 1-800-458-1158.

The State Health Department has alerted other states of this case in the event that people traveling from other states may have been exposed.