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The New Hampshire Hepatitis A Scare Is Not Over Yet

The Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is investigating a second case of hepatitis A in a food service worker. This individual also worked at the Covered Bridge Restaurant in Contoocook, NH. DPHS’ estimates between 100 and 200 people might have been exposed to the illness.

The infected food service worker, worked at the Covered Bridge Restaurant on August 13th and 20th. If you were at the Covered Bridge Restaurant on August 13th, it is too late for you to receive prophylaxis but you should be alert to potential symptoms of hepatitis A. If you were at the Covered Bridge Restaurant on August 20th DPHS is recommending you receive either the vaccine or immune globulin at this time. If you have previously been vaccinated or if you have had hepatitis A infection you do not need any further vaccine for this situation.

Although there is no cure for hepatitis A, there is a vaccine and immune globulin can help prevent someone who has been exposed from getting sick. Anyone from 12 months of age to age 40 can receive the vaccine. People over 40 and under 12 months it is recommended to receive immune globulin (an antibody preparation).

DPHS is working with the Capital Area Public Health Network to conduct vaccination clinics for anyone who may have been exposed to the virus. Clinics are being held Friday, August 30th from 5PM – 8 PM and Saturday, August 31st from 9AM – 12 PM. Clinics will be held at Bow High School, 32 White Rock Hill Rd, Bow, NH.

The New England Poison Control Center has been activated to help answer questions from the public about this situation; the number to call is 1-800-562-8236.

Hepatitis A is a virus that causes liver disease. The virus is spread more easily in areas where there are poor sanitary conditions or where good personal hygiene is not observed. Most infections result from contact with a household member or sex partner who has Hepatitis A. Casual contact such as in the office, factory, or school setting does not spread the virus.

People infected with Hepatitis A may not show any signs or symptoms of the disease and older persons are more likely to show symptoms than children. If symptoms are present, they usually occur abruptly and may include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). People who develop Hepatitis A almost always recover from the illness without further complications.