Concord Monitor (08.08.2013)
The New Hampshire Division of Public Health is urging patrons who ate at either of two Contoocook restaurants on or after July 20 to get tested for Hepatitis A after an employee tested positive for the infection. The bartender in question worked at both the American Legion and the Covered Bridge Restaurant.
Hepatitis A attacks the liver but is not life-threatening. Symptoms are comparable to those of having the flu and usually last fewer than two months. The virus is transmitted when fecal matter contaminates food, water, or utensils, or through sexual contact. The disease has no treatment or cure; however, receiving a vaccine or immune globulin soon after exposure reduces the probability of contracting the disease.
The Division of Public Health will offer two vaccination clinics at Hopkinton High School on Friday, August 9, from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m.; and Saturday, August 10, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Individuals ages 12 months to 40 can receive the vaccine. Young infants or persons older than 40 can receive immune globulin, which contains antibodies that provide immediate protection.
Health officials have not received any additional reports of infection, but as many as 1,000 people might require testing, according to Jose Montero, director of the New Hampshire Division of Public Health. He also noted that children had been vaccinated against hepatitis A routinely since approximately 2006, and that those who had been vaccinated or otherwise exposed to the virus were not at risk of infection.
Additionally, only people who ate at the establishments in question were at risk; families, co-workers, and friends were considered safe. Montero also noted that information could change once the division identified the infected bartender’s exact work schedule but that they had “no particular reason” to question the health practices at either restaurant.