UPDATE: Waiter With Hepatitis Virus Had Been Overseas This Summer; Restaurant Staff Getting Vaccine

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UPDATE: Friday, 5 p.m.

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services will now offer the hepatitis A immunization for those who meet the criteria on Sunday as well as the previously announced schedule, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Teaching Center at Southampton Hospital.

Shots are also available today until 6 p.m., Saturday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m, and Tuesday from 3 to 6 p.m. Treatment is also being offered at the SCDHS offices at 3500 Sunrise Highway, Suite 124, Great River on Tuesday from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. Additional infomation is available by calling 631-854-0333 and at www.cdc.gov.

UPDATE: Thursday, 4 p.m.

A manager at the Driver’s Seat confirmed on Thursday afternoon that a summer employee at the restaurant did contract the virus while overseas in July.

According to Corinne Rueb, the waiter had been feeling ill while working at the restaurant but did not know he had hepatitis at the time. Ms. Rueb stressed that the employee was a waiter and did not prepare or cook food at the restaurant at any point this summer.

Ms. Rueb said the staff was notified of the virus earlier in the day and all employees will be tested and given the vaccine by Friday. She added that the waiter’s last day at the establishment was August 19.

“He has already been treated,” she said. “We all just got the news from the Board of Health today so we all have to go and get shots. Anybody that feels they are exposed can go to Southampton Hospital for the shot, which is free.”

ORIGINAL STORY

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services is recommending that anyone who ate at the Driver’s Seat Restaurant in Southampton Village this month be treated for a possible hepatitis A infection due to an infected employee.

According to a press release issued Thursday afternoon, patrons who consumed food or beverages at the restaurant between Tuesday, August 6, and Tuesday, August 20, may have been exposed to the virus. As a result, the Health Services Department is offering free hepatitis A vaccines or immune globulin (IG) to anyone who dined at the restaurant between August 16 and August 20 in the teaching center at Southampton Hospital. Preventive treatments can help prevent or lessen the severity of the virus when given within two weeks of exposure, according to the release.

Anyone who was exposed to the virus before August 16 would most likely already be exhibiting symptoms of the virus. If feeling sick, patrons are encouraged to go to their doctor for treatment.

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver, the release says. The virus may be spread by consuming food or drink that has been handled by an infected person, and may also be spread from person to person by consuming something that has been contaminated with fecal material of a person with hepatitis A. The virus is not spread through casual contact.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, stomach pain, dark-colored urine and jaundice. Symptoms typically appear within 28 days of exposure. Most people diagnosed with the virus recover within a few weeks, according to the release.

A manager at Driver’s Seat was not immediately available for comment on Thursday afternoon.

Treatment at Southampton Hospital through the SCDHS will be available on Friday, August 30, from 3 to 6 p.m., Saturday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Tuesday from 3 to 6 p.m. Treatment is also being offered at the SCDHS offices at 3500 Sunrise highway, Suite 124, Great River on Friday, August 30, and Tuesday, September 3, from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m.

Additional information is available by calling 631-854-0333 and at www.cdc.gov.

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