According to press reports, up to 6,750 people who dined at a Southampton restaurant could have been exposed to hepatitis A, according to the Suffolk County health department.

The Department of Health Services is offering free preventive treatment after it announced Thursday it was investigating a case of hepatitis A, an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus, at The Driver’s Seat restaurant at 62 Jobs Lane.

Health department spokeswoman Grace Kelly-McGovern said Friday the case involved an employee under age 50 who was a food runner and waiter. He had been visiting in Ecuador and had been back in this country a week before working at the restaurant from Aug. 6 to Aug. 20. He was diagnosed with the virus after he was hospitalized elsewhere in the state from Aug. 23 to 26, she said. The county learned he worked at a restaurant on Wednesday, she said.

According to a press release, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) is investigating a case of Hepatitis A virus in an individual who worked at the Driver’s Seat Restaurant, 62 Jobs Lane, Southampton, New York. Patrons who consumed food or beverage at this establishment between August 6th and August 20th may have been exposed to Hepatitis A. Preventive treatment for Hepatitis A virus can help to prevent or lessen the severity of illness when given within two weeks of exposure.

SCDHS will offer free Hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (IG) to individuals who dined at this establishment between August 16th and August 20th . Treatment is offered at the 3rd Floor Teaching Center, Southampton Hospital, 240 Meeting House Lane, Southampton, at the following times:

Friday, August 30 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, August 31 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Monday, September 2 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 3 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Treatment will also be offered at SCDHS offices, 3500 Sunrise Hwy, Suite 124, Great River on:

Friday, August 30 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 3 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Potentially exposed individuals may also receive preventive treatment from their health care provider. Preventive treatment is not recommended for individuals potentially exposed before August 16, 2013. Those individuals should be aware of the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A and contact their health care provider if they become ill.

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the Hepatitis A virus. The virus may be spread by consuming food or drink that has been handled by an infected person. It may also be spread from person to person by putting in the mouth something that has been contaminated with fecal material of a person with hepatitis A. Casual contact, as in an office or school setting, does not spread the virus.

The symptoms of Hepatitis A range from mild to severe and include fever, fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, stomach pain, dark-colored urine and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). Most people recover in a few weeks without any complications. The symptoms commonly appear within 28 days of exposure, with a range of 15-50 days. There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis A. Treatment is supportive care. Thorough hand washing after bathroom use and before, during and after food preparation can help to prevent the spread of this and other intestinal illnesses.

Individuals exposed to Hepatitis A virus should receive Hepatitis A vaccination or immune globulin (IG) within two weeks of exposure to a person with Hepatitis A infection. Individuals who have been vaccinated for Hepatitis A or who have had the illness in the past are protected from Hepatitis A infection and have no need for preventive treatment. Pregnant women are urged to consult their doctor to discuss appropriate management.

For additional information or questions about possible exposure, call the Suffolk County Department of Health Services hotline at 631-787-2200 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.