What to Know
- Health officials are warning people who ate or drank at Port Chester's Bartaco recently that they may have been exposed to Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis A affects the liver and symptoms include fever, fatigue, abdominal pain and even jaundice
- Preventative treatment is only effective within two weeks of exposure, so anyone who dined at Bartaco recently is advised to seek help now
Thousands of people were treated against Hepatitis A this week after officials warned customers of a popular Port Chester restaurant that they may have been exposed to the serious infection.
The Westchester Health Department said 2,911 people were treated on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in connection with five cases of Hepatitis A traced to the Bartaco restaurant on Willett Avenue. About 900 were treated Thursday, 800 on Friday and 1,187 on Saturday, with more expected on Monday and Tuesday.
Lines for the free treatments stretched outside Westchester County Center on Friday.
“I love tacos. It was my first time trying a portobello, and this happened,” Clifton Newton said. “So, you know, what can I do?”
Customers who ate or drank at the restaurant from Oct. 12 to Oct. 23 could have been exposed, according to health officials. They say an employee worked there while infected with the illness.
Those who ate at the restaurant during the affected dates can still be inoculated Monday and Tuesday (details below).
Preventative treatment is only effective within two weeks of exposure, so anyone who ate at the restaurant since Oct. 12 is advised to seek treatment immediately.
Those outside the window have to wait and see if they develop symptoms, said Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler. She says those with symptoms should contact their health care provider as soon as possible.
Hepatitis A affects the liver and can cause symptoms ranging from fever to extreme fatigue, abdominal pain and jaundice.
Bartaco was up and running again Friday as customers mulled whether to return.
Some customers were hesitant.
“You’re going there for a nice experience and the experience is going to be hepatitis, I don’t think you want that,” Edith Rivera said.
Other customers said they respected the restaurant’s accountability after learning about the infected employee.
“Just the fact that they informed everybody about this and took this step, kind of earns my trust a little more,” August Abatecola said.
The restaurant says it’s fully cooperating with health officials and that it cares about the health and safety of its customers.
Preventive treatment will also be available by appointment only on Monday and Tuesday at the Health Department’s White Plains clinic at 134 Court St. Appointments are available on Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. To register, go to www.health.ny.gov/go2clinic/60