Hepatitis A Advisory From The New York State DOH

New York State Health Officials Act on Massachusetts Alert

Albany, NY, June 18, 2004 — The New York State Department of Health today acted on a Hepatitis A alert issued by health officials in Massachusetts. There is a possibility that some New Yorkers may be affected. Massachusetts State and Local Public Health Authorities have announced that a case of hepatitis A occurred in a food worker at the Friendly's Restaurant located at 105 Broadway in Arlington, MA.

The restaurant, in the greater Boston area, is located close to highly-traveled roads, including a nearby exit of the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90). There is a chance that some New York residents may have eaten there recently, and may be at risk of developing hepatitis A. Anyone who ate cold or uncooked foods at this restaurant between the dates of June 4 through June 15, 2004 could have been exposed. Cold or uncooked foods include salads and salad items, rolls, breads, hamburger and hot dog buns, fruit or vegetable garnishes, cold desserts including ice cream, hamburger or sandwich condiments such as pickles and onions, chips, and ice or beverages containing ice.

Immune globulin (IG) protects against the hepatitis A virus if it is given within two weeks after a person has been exposed. Among the ways exposure can occur is consuming ready-to-eat food that was handled by someone who is infected and is experiencing symptoms. Therefore, people who ate cold or uncooked foods or are unsure of what they ate from this restaurant between June 4 and June 15, 2004 should contact their health care provider without delay and determine whether they should receive IG. Immune globulin is most effective if given very soon after exposure and is not beneficial after 14 days. As time passes, persons who were exposed earlier in the time period believed to present a risk may not be candidates for IG treatment. However, those individuals should be alert for possible symptoms of hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious disease that attacks the liver. It is the most common type of hepatitis reported in the United States. Symptoms include fever, jaundice (yellowing of skin), fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort and dark urine. There is no specific treatment for the disease. Most people recover without severe complications.