August 30, 2013

Second worker at N.H. restaurant develops hepatitis A

The Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire health officials say a second bartender at a Contoocook restaurant has developed hepatitis A and that between 100 and 200 people might have been exposed to the liver disease.

Public Health Director Dr. Jose Montero said Friday the case is linked to a previous case of another bartender developing hepatitis A at the Covered Bridge Restaurant last month.

Montero said the second worker was at the restaurant on Aug. 13 and Aug. 20, as well as at some private, catered events. He said health officials are following up with individuals who were at those events.

The Health Department recommends that restaurant patrons on Aug. 20 receive a vaccine to protect themselves, even though the risk of developing the illness is low. For patrons at the restaurant on Aug. 13, the best time for the effectiveness of the vaccine has passed, Montero said. He said patrons would need to monitor their health over the next four to six weeks.

Clinics are being set up from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at Bow High School.

Hepatitis A can be spread when an infected person handles food without appropriate hand hygiene.
Montero said it's not easy to tell if a person has developed hepatitis A.

"You may have no symptoms. The incubation period may be up to 50 days," he said at a news conference. Montero said health officials are working with the restaurant to monitor the health of its 24 employees.

Hepatitis A can last from a few weeks to several months. Symptoms include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.

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