Nassau County Offering Free Hep A Vaccinations to Exposed Long Islanders

Hepatitis A exposure investigated at 7-Eleven store in Merrick, NY

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The Nassau County Department of Health (NCDH) is investigating a confirmed case of Hepatitis A virus in a food handler who worked at the 7-Eleven fast food store, located at 1555 Jerusalem Avenue, in Merrick, NY.  

The Hepatitis A virus may be spread by consuming food or drink that has been handled by an infected person. It may also be spread from person to person by placing something into the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool of a person with Hepatitis A. 

NCDH said in a press release that 7-Eleven patrons who utilized the toileting facility, or consumed foods and drinks on-site may have been exposed to Hepatitis A between February 24 and March 6, 2019. 

To help prevent a potential hepatitis A outbreak, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein announced the availability of free Hepatitis A vaccinations and/or immune globulin, for those exposed at this 7-Eleven location between February 24th and March 6th, 2019. 

Those who have been vaccinated with two doses of hepatitis A vaccine or who have had the illness in the past are protected from hepatitis A infections, and there is no need for further action, said NCHD. 

During 2018, over 25 restaurants reported staff working while infectious with Hepatitis A. 

Hepatitis A is caused by the Hepatitis A virus. The symptoms of Hepatitis A may range from mild to severe and include an abrupt onset of fever, fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, stomach pain, dark-colored urine and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). 

The disease is rarely fatal, and most people recover in a few weeks without any complications. 

The symptoms commonly appear within 28 days of exposure, with a range of 15-50 days. 

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There are no special medicines or antibiotics that can be used to treat a person once symptoms appear. 

Generally, bed rest is all that is needed, said NCHD.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there are 3 brands of hepatitis A vaccines available, Vaqta, Havrix, and Twinrix is a combined hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine approved for people older than 18 years of age. 

The CDC publishes a website with current state-based, hepatitis A information.   

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC. 

A call center has been established for those that require additional information. Those in need may call 516-227-9570. 

Additional information on Hepatitis A is available on the New York State Department of Health website. 

Nassau County has approximately 1.4 million residents and is situated in western Long Island, bordering New York City's borough of Queens to the west, and Suffolk County to the east.