Cafeteria Worker at New York Middle School Diagnosed With Hepatitis A: Official

A middle school cafeteria worker in Westchester County has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A, the school district said in a letter sent to parents and staff Thursday.

Robert Shaps, superintendent of the Mamaroneck Union Free School District, wrote in the letter that the Health Department had informed the district of the diagnoses. The Hommocks Middle School cafeteria worker is recovering, the government agency said, according to the letter.

Shaps said health officials told him the worker had not been in school the past two weeks and is no longer symptomatic. He wrote in the letter that health officials "assured us that it is unlikely that anyone at the school would have become ill as a result."

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a viral infection. The virus is shed in the stool of an infected person and people become infected by eating contaminated food or water. Most recover without treatment. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, poor appetite, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, changes in the coloring of urine or stool and yellow discoloration of the skin or whites of the eye.

Parents or children who feel they are experiencing any of those symptoms should notify the school nurse and contact their family physicians. If a parent suspects their child may have Hepatitis A, the child should not be sent to school, Shaps wrote in the letter.

He also urged parents to consider getting their children vaccinated for Hepatitis A. The vaccination is not required for school admission, he said, but it is the "best protection" against the disease.

"The health and safety of our students and staff members is our highest priority," Shaps wrote in the letter. "Our school nurses have been instructed to keep a watchful eye for any student or staff member who may exhibit symptoms." 

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