A bartender who worked while sickened with contagious hepatitis A may have exposed more than 1,100 Contoocook, NH residents to the virus. That’s how many people showed up last weekend for vaccinations against the hepatitis A virus. The town’s entire population is just 1,444. Customers of both the Covered Bridge Restaurant and the American Legion in Contoocook could have been exposed to the virus by the bartender from July 20 to Aug. 3. The state’s Bureau of Infectious Diseases estimated 600 to 1,000 people were potentially exposed. Hepatitis A vaccines are most effective if obtained as soon as possible after exposure. New Hampshire health officials urged anyone who might have been exposed to obtain a vaccine no later than Aug. 17. In addition to the vaccine clinic, the shots are available at local doctor’s offices. The bartender has recovered and is cleared to return to work. Hepatitis A is a liver disease with some flu-like symptoms, including fatigue, fever, nausea, vomiting, dark or discolored urine and gray-colored stool. The only treatment is rest and hydration. Hepatitis A is spread when food and water is contaminated with fecal matter, or through sexual contact. After the bartender’s illness was reported to state officials on Aug. 7, state officials suggested the Covered Bridge close, which it did. In addition to cleaning, the restaurant renovated its kitchen before re-opening after inspection Aug. 14. The restaurant did not have a policy for employees to report to supervisors if they are diagnosed with foodborne illnesses, but such a policy is not legally required in New Hampshire. The state has required school children to obtain hepatitis A vaccines since 2006.