April 23, 2018

Customers of Westside Market in NYC Exposed to Hepatitis A

The New York City Health Department is warning customers of Westside Market at 2589 Broadway in New York City that they may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus. Anyone who ate chopped, ready-to-eat fruit from that facility either purchased from the store or delivered or catered between August 9 and August 22, 2013 should be vaccinated as a precaution. If you have already had hepatitis A or had the two necessary vaccinations you are covered.

VaccineThe exposure happened 1 to 14 days ago, so the window for vaccination is still open. You can visit your doctor to receive either immune globulin or the hepatitis A vaccine. Free vaccinations are being offered at MS 258: Community Action School at 154 West 93rd Street in New York at these times: 8/23/13: 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm; 8/24/13: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; 8/25/13: 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm; 8/26/13: 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

A food handler who works at that store has been diagnosed with the disease. Fruits involved include those packaged in plastic containers and sold in the refrigerated case immediately to the left as you enter the store. The affected products are watermelon, cut into halves and quarters; peeled whole pineapples; and shelled and cut coconut. Hepatitis A is spread by eating food contaminated with traces of fecal matter form an infected person. The food will look, smell, and taste perfectly clean.

Westside Market is cooperating with the Health Department. They said they sell about 100 ready-to-eat fruit containers every day.

People develop symptoms of a hepatitis A infection 15 to 50 days after exposure; the average is 30 days. Vaccination within 14 days of exposure can prevent the illness. Anyone who has had this illness should be immune. Symptoms of this infection include yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice), fever, nausea, diarrhea, light-colored stool, dark-colored urine, tiredness, loss of appetite, and abdominal cramps. Inflammation of the liver is a complication of this disease, which usually requires hospitalization.

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