NEW YORK Hundreds of diners at an Italian restaurant in suburban New York may have been exposed to hepatitis A in the last few weeks after a food handler there was found to have the liver disease, the county health department said.
People who ate at or who were working at La Fontana restaurant in the village of Nyack, about 20 miles north of Manhattan, between March 19 and April 1 may have been exposed to the virus, the Rockland County health department said.
The department is urging diners and employees who were at the restaurant between March 29 and April 1 who have not previously been vaccinated to obtain a free hepatitis A vaccination.
The vaccination is only effective if taken within 14 days of exposure and so will be of no use to people who were at La Fontana earlier in March, the department said.
The liver-inflaming virus that causes the disease can be transmitted by eating something contaminated by traces of an infected person's feces.
The disease causes jaundiced skin, itching, fever and nausea but is usually completely cured with a few weeks of rest, according to the National Institute of Health. Fewer than one in 1,000 cases lead to complications that can be fatal.
There was no indication on Saturday that any diners had yet developed the disease.
A telephone number for La Fontana went unanswered on Saturday morning.
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Scott Malone)