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Published On: Sat, Aug 24th, 2013

Customers of NYC Westside Market are warned of hepatitis A risk

The New York City Health Department is advising patrons of the Westside Market located at 2589 Broadway between 97th and 98th street, on the Upper West Side, of a possible hepatitis A risk after a food handler tested positive for the virus.

Health officials are urging patrons who ate chopped, ready-to-eat fruit either in-store, through catering or delivery between August 9th and August 22nd to get hepatitis A vaccination as a precautionary measure.

Image/Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Image/Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Fruits involved include those packaged in plastic containers and sold in the refrigerated case immediately to the left as you enter the store and includes watermelon cut into halves and quarters; peeled whole pineapples; and shelled and cut coconut.

The Westside Market is cooperating fully with the Health Department, and estimates that it sells approximately 100 ready-to-eat fruit containers per day.

People can visit their regular doctor to receive this shot. The Health Department will offer free hepatitis A vaccinations starting tomorrow at MS 258: Community Action School located at 154 West 93rd Street New York, NY 10025 at the following times:

Sunday, August 25:  2pm – 6pm
Monday, August 26:  2pm – 8pm

Officials say you do not need the prophylaxis if you have previously been vaccinated or if you have had hepatitis A infection.

“We are asking these store patrons to get this vaccination as a precautionary measure,” 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 to prevent the spread of disease.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.

Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter,even in microscopic amounts, from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person.

Hepatitis A also can be spread through contaminated food or water. This most often occurs in countries where Hepatitis A is common, especially if personal hygiene or sanitary conditions are poor. Contamination of food can happen at any point: growing, harvesting, processing, handling, and even after cooking.

Not everyone has symptoms. If symptoms develop, they usually appear 2 to 6 weeks after becoming infected and can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and jaundice.

There is no specific treatment once symptoms appear, but a vaccination can help lessen the effects of the disease if given within 14 days of exposure.

The best way to control the spread of hepatitis A and many other illnesses is through proper hand washing, especially after using the restroom, changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food. Hand washing should include 20 seconds of vigorous soaping of all parts of the hands, especially between fingers and under fingernails.

Officials say an average of 65 cases of hepatitis A occur in New York City each year, with 1-2 occurring in food handlers.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. penny layne says:

    My husband and I are disabled, and cannot stand in a 2 hour line for Hep A shot. Unbelievable that as far as I know, there are no options for us..unless we go to an emergency room..or private doctor. What are the options? We both ate watermellon from them in the last two weeks….

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