Hundreds of people turned up for vaccinations at a health clinic Saturday after five cases of hepatitis A at a Bronx restaurant caused Health Department officials to urge other patrons to seek medical attention.
A team from the Medical Reserve Corps was dispatched to cope with demand. Within two hours of opening their doors, they had administered about 400 vaccinations with hundreds more people still waiting their turn, DNAinfo reported.
One employee and four patrons at New Hawaii Sea Restaurant in the Bronx have reportedly been diagnosed with hepatitis A.
The New York City Health Department is warning people who ate at the restaurant's 1475 Williamsbridge Road location between Sept. 7 and Sept. 19 to get a hepatitis A vaccine as soon as possible. The disease can be prevented if people are vaccinated within 14 days of exposure.
They said those who consumed food from the restaurant through catering or delivery should also seek a vaccine, and all leftover food should be discarded immediately.
The health department is providing hepatitis A vaccines starting Saturday, Sept. 21 at Herbert Lehman High School at 3000 East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx. Vaccines will be available from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and provided for free for anyone without health insurance.
Pregnant women are not eligible for the health department's hepatitis A vaccine and are advised to contact their doctor. People with immune-compromising conditions are advised to contact their doctor as well.
Hepatitis A is contracted by consuming food contaminated by someone with the infection. Symptoms of a hepatitis A infection include jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea. People typically develop symptoms about one month after being infected, the health department said, though it can be as soon as 15 days or take as long as 50 days.
"This incident serves as an important reminder to always wash your hands thoroughly before handling food to prevent the spread of disease," said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.
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