SYRACUSE, NY — The Camillus Country Club worker diagnosed with the highly contagious Hepatitis A virus followed all proper handwashing and food safety techniques, so the risk of infection for people who ate or drank at the club is low, according to public health officials.
The Onondaga County Health Department, however, says anyone who ate or drank at the club between Oct. 18 and Oct. 24 should get vaccinated as soon as possible. The department said on its website it is “erring on the side of caution” by making this recommendation. These people also are being advised to call the health department at 315-435-5752.
The department announced Wednesday anyone who ate or drank at the club from Oct. 13-24 may have been exposed to the virus. But it said the vaccine will not benefit anyone who ate or drank at the facility before Oct. 18. That’s because the vaccine is only effective if given within the first two weeks after exposure.
Hepatitis A is a liver infection. It can make people mildly sick for a few weeks or severely ill for several months, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many people with the virus have no symptoms.
While there is a vaccine to prevent Hepatitis A, there is no treatment for the virus. It can take several months for the infection to clear up.
Hepatitis A is often spread when a person consumes food or drinks contaminated by small amounts of feces from an infected person. Hepatitis A also can be spread by having sex with an infected person or injecting drugs with contaminated needles.
The health department did not say how many Camillus Country Club patrons may have been exposed to the virus.
But Jivi Govender, the club’s owner, estimated 125 people may have been exposed. Govender said no customers or other employees have reported having symptoms of the virus.
Govender said he did not know the employee was sick with Hepatitis A until the health department contacted him Wednesday. The employee is not working at the club.
Symptoms may include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark-colored urine, clay-colored stools, joint pain or jaundice.
The health department said Govender and his staff are complying with all health department recommendations there is no risk to eating at the club.