By Cleve Bryan

HAMILTON Twp., NJ (CBS) – Hundreds of people may be at risk to hepatitis A after a kitchen worker at Rosa’s Restaurant and Catering in Hamilton Township, Mercer County tested positive.

Before becoming hospitalized on November 29 the employee’s last day at work was November 24, so anyone who ate food from the restaurant between November 10 and December 1 should contact their doctor about a vaccination.

“Anyone who ate at the establishment, received take out, received catering from that establishment certainly had a possibility of being at risk,” says Hamilton Township Public Health Officer Jeff Plunkett.

Hepatitis A is the least severe type of hepatitis causing nausea, headaches and diarrhea, but it is rarely fatal.

It is, however, highly contagious and exposure in a restaurant can lead to an outbreak.

“It’s clearly on food and that makes this case so significant because he was a food handler and the amount of people who went through the facility,” says Plunkett.

There’s also a risk to nearby students because Rosa’s provides lunch to Saint Raphael’s preschool to eighth grade Catholic School.

Health officials believe most of the students are covered by standard vaccinations, but a public health nurse was at the school Tuesday to identify students who need vaccines and to educate parents.

Rosa’s had to close Monday night while they sanitized the building and threw out all the unfrozen food products.

All of the employees have to be vaccinated.

“Rosa has a very good, outstanding reputation in the area and we want to keep it that way. This is an unforeseen thing unfortunately,” says Donna Severino a friend of Rosa and a part-time employee.

Health officials warn that people may have a hard time getting hepatitis A vaccines right away because it’s not often kept in stock at doctors’ offices and pharmacies.

Tuesday evening, Mayor Kelly A. Yaede announced a Hepatitis A vaccination clinic is scheduled for Thursday.  According to the news release, persons who ate food at or from Rosa’s between November 10, through December 1, who have not been previously vaccinated for Hepatitis A, are urged to attend.

The Hepatitis A Vaccination Clinic will be held Thursday, December 4 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Colonial Volunteer Fire Company, 801 Kuser Road, in Hamilton, NJ.

  • Clinic is open to Hamilton Residents only
  • ID is required
  • Ages 12 months and up
  • Ages 18yrs and below must be accompanied by an adult
  • The cost of the vaccination will be $35

 

Residents can also contact the Hamilton Township Division of Health at 609-890-3884 for questions or additional information.

For more information from Hamilton Township you can visit http://www.hamiltonnj.com/ and to learn more about hepatitis A visit http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/a/aFAQ.htm#overview

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