Hepatitis A exposure possible in West Village restaurant, patrons warned

April 6, 2013 12:49:57 PM PDT
Alta is a West Village restaurant known for its Spanish and Mediterranean Cuisine, but now it has picked up a less favorable distinction - investigated by the Health Department for Hepatitis A.

Health officials say anyone who ate dessert at Alta on 64 West 10th Street between March 23rd to April 2nd are at risk, and they are urging affected patrons to get a Hepatitis A vaccination.

"This isolated incident has affected an employee who is no longer on the premises. That employee traveled to Mexico and was infected with Hepatitis A," said the restaurant's manager, Manny Solano.

Solano says the affected employee worked on the pastry team, and that all employees will get vaccinated by Monday.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that usually spreads through contaminated food or water. Symptoms include jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea. While the disease is rarely fatal, people who have been exposed should get the vaccine within two weeks.

The restaurant's owner says as many as 3,000 people dined at Alta during March 23rd to April 2nd.

The Health Department says they are trying to track down people who were exposed.

Despite the health scare, customers continued to pour into the trendy foodery tucked away in the Village, unfazed by the news.

The Health Department will also offer free Hepatitis A vaccinations to patrons starting Monday at the Chelsea Health Center, 303 Ninth Avenue, 1st Floor in Manhattan at the following times:

Saturday, April 6: 2p.m.-6p.m.

Sunday, April 7: 2p.m. -6 p.m.

Monday, April 8: 9 a.m. -5p.m.

People who were exposed but have already received two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine sometime in their life do not need another shot; all others should be vaccinated.

Officials say the restaurant has been cooperating fully with the investigation.