Hepatitis A exposure possible in West Village restaurant, patrons warned

April 6, 2013 1:32:40 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.

The owner of Alta restaurant in New York City says as many as 3,000 people dined at Alta between March 23rd and April 2nd, but health officials say only patrons who ate dessert are the ones at risk and are being urged 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 Health Department says they are trying to track down people who were exposed. 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.

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

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

This story was reported by WABC-TV, KTRK's sister station in New York.

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