The Westchester County Health Department announced Friday that the public health agency was providing free post-exposure hepatitis A treatment for customers of the Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins restaurant located at 422 Washington Street in Peekskill, NY.
Prophylactic shots will be provided to patrons who consumed drinks containing ice at the restaurant between April 1 and April 6, the time period in which an employee infected with hepatitis A was working at the restaurant.
The last opportunity for customers to receive a free preventive injection is today, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Hudson River HealthCare, at 1037 Main St. in Peekskill. Preventive treatment is only effective if given within two weeks of potential exposure to the hepatitis A virus.
According to the Westchester County Health Department, customers who consumed beverages with ice on March 28 or 31 were potentially exposed to the virus but would not benefit from post-exposure treatment.
Hepatitis A is the only common vaccine-preventable foodborne disease in the United States. It is one of five human hepatitis viruses that primarily infect the human liver and cause human illness. Unlike hepatitis B and C, hepatitis A doesn’t develop into chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis, which are both potentially fatal conditions; however, infection with the hepatitis A virus can still lead to acute liver failure and death.
Individuals infected with hepatitis A do not exhibit symptoms until approximately two weeks after they have become infected. Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fever, malaise, and jaundice. In severe cases, those infected with hepatitis A can suffer liver failure.