What to Know
- Nassau County officials are warning of a potential Hepatitis A exposure at a convenience store in North Merrick
- An employee at a 7-11 store located on Jerusalem Avenue in North Merrick, is a confirmed case of Hepatitis A, health officials say
- Any customer who ate food or used the restroom between Feb. 1 and March 6 may have been exposed
Nassau County officials are warning of a potential Hepatitis A exposure at a convenience store in North Merrick.
An employee, who is a food handler at a 7-11 store located on Jerusalem Avenue in North Merrick, is a confirmed case of Hepatitis A, according to the Nassau Health Department.
Any customer who ate food or used the restroom between Feb. 1 and March 6 may have been exposed.
The Nassau County Department of Health will be providing vaccinations for people who were potentially exposed. The first free vaccination event is taking place Sunday afternoon at Nassau County Community College. Another vaccination event is scheduled for Monday from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Nassau County Department of Health.
"Anyone who may have been exposed by using the toilet, drinking liquid, beverages, eating food from the 7-11 might benefit from this protective vaccination," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. "The county is being protective and proactive by offering this free vaccination to those who may have been at risk."
Commissioner of Health Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein classified the risk as low.
"The risk is low. This is not a cause for panic, but people should take precautions and protect their health," he said.
According to the state's Department of Health, "Hepatitis" is an inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.
Hepatitis A virus is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter - even in microscopic amounts - from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person, according to the state's Department of Health. Contamination of food can happen at any point: growing, harvesting, processing, handling, and even after cooking.
Not everyone who is exposed to Hepatitis A develops symptoms, however, if they do, the symptoms usually appear two to six weeks after exposure and can include fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, grey-colored stools, dark urine, joint pain and jaundice, health officials say.
Symptoms are more likely to occur in adults than in children.
According to the state's health department, the best way to prevent Hepatitis A is by getting vaccinated. Frequent handwashing with soap and water also helps prevent the spread of Hepatitis A.