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Possible public Hep-A exposure at Merrick 7-Eleven, county warns

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Officials from the Nassau County Department of Health warned the public on Friday of a confirmed case of Hepatitis A in a food handler who worked at the 7-Eleven at 1555 Jerusalem Ave. in Merrick.

Anyone who used the bathroom, ate or drank anything prepared at the convenience store between Feb. 1 and March 6 could have been exposed, officials said.

Anyone who might have been exposed between Feb. 24 and March 6 should get the vaccination or immune globulin, Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein said. People who may have been exposed earlier need to look for symptoms and check in with their doctor about the potential exposure. Anyone who has been vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine, or who have had the illness in the past are protected, and need not worry.

The county will offer free vaccines and immune globulin for anyone exposed, on Sunday at the Nassau Community College CCB Building (1 Education Drive, Garden City) from noon to 4 p.m.; and on Monday at the County Department of Health (200 County Seat Drive, Mineola) from 1 to 6 p.m.

A call center has been established for anyone who needs more information. Call: (516) 227-9570.

The Hepatitis A 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 placing something into the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool of a person with the virus.

The symptoms of Hepatitis A may range from mild to severe and include an abrupt onset of fever, fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, stomach pain, dark-colored urine and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). The disease is rarely fatal, and 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 are no special medicines or antibiotics that can be used to treat a person once symptoms appear. Generally, bed rest is all that is needed. Thorough hand washing after bathroom use, and before, during and after food preparation is the most important means to prevent the spread of this and other intestinal illnesses. Sharing of food and utensils should be discouraged especially whenever anyone is ill.

More information on Hepatitis A is available on the New York State Department of Health website: https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/1859/index.htm