ROCKPORT (CBS) – Officials at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health are warning customers of Ray Moore’s Fish Shack in Rockport that they may have been exposed to hepatitis A.
An employee who worked at the restaurant from April 21-May 12 has been diagnosed with hepatitis A.
Customers who dined during that time on cold or uncooked items such as salad, breads (including rolls and hot dog and hamburger buns), cold desserts, fruit or vegetable garnishes, condiments such as pickles and onions, chips and beverages containing ice should contact a doctor to receive treatment for possible exposure to hepatitis A.
“The Town’s Health Department has been working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH) and the owners of the Fish Shack Restaurant, who have been cooperative with these efforts, to address the public health concerns associated with this case,” the town of Rockport said in an official statement.
“If you had eaten here you might wanna [want to] check with your doctor and think about getting a hepatitis A vaccination. A two-part vaccination and you can get immune globulin, which can give you an immediate protection, too. Another two weeks it will be irrelevant, as far as a preventative,” Rockport Board of Health Chairman Sydney Wedmore said. “State protocol, that person is pulled from the job, until they are treated and no longer infectious.”
The early signs and symptoms of hepatitis A are fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and jaundice. The illness varies in severity, with mild cases lasting two weeks or less and more severe cases lasting four to six weeks or longer.
Some, such as Richard Santos, who is in town on business from Colorado, are concerned. “But me, I was in there. Do I have it, or am I carrying it, and I’m infecting other people?”
However, other customers, such as Leonard Goodman, who’s a regular at the restaurant, say they feel just fine. “I’ve been feeling ok, so I’m not that worried.”
Hepatitis A virus is spread as a result of fecal contamination and may be spread from person to person through close contact or through food handling.
Hepatitis A vaccine and hepatitis A immune globulin may be effective at preventing hepatitis A infection if administered within two weeks of exposure.
Customers who may have been exposed to the virus should wash their hands thoroughly after toileting and before food preparation to avoid any potential further spread of disease.
The restaurant is closed until further notice.