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Aug 29, 2013 3:23 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Waiter With Hepatitis Virus Had Been Overseas This Summer; Restaurant Staff Getting Vaccine

Aug 31, 2013 9:05 AM

UPDATE: Friday, 5 p.m.

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services will now offer the hepatitis A immunization for those who meet the criteria on Sunday as well as the previously announced schedule, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Teaching Center at Southampton Hospital.

Shots are also available today until 6 p.m., Saturday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m, and Tuesday from 3 to 6 p.m. Treatment is also being offered at the SCDHS offices at 3500 Sunrise Highway, Suite 124, Great River on Tuesday from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. Additional infomation is available by calling 631-854-0333 and at www.cdc.gov.



UPDATE: Thursday, 4 p.m.

A manager at the Driver's Seat confirmed on Thursday afternoon that a summer employee at the restaurant did contract the virus while overseas in July.

According to Corinne Rueb, the waiter had been feeling ill while working at the restaurant but did not know he had hepatitis at the time. Ms. Rueb stressed that the employee was a waiter and did not prepare or cook food at the restaurant at any point this summer.

Ms. Rueb said the staff was notified of the virus earlier in the day and all employees will be tested and given the vaccine by Friday. She added that the waiter’s last day at the establishment was August 19.

"He has already been treated," she said. "We all just got the news from the Board of Health today so we all have to go and get shots. Anybody that feels they are exposed can go to Southampton Hospital for the shot, which is free."



ORIGINAL STORY

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services is recommending that anyone who ate at the Driver’s Seat Restaurant in Southampton Village this month be treated for a possible hepatitis A infection due to an infected employee.

According to a press release issued Thursday afternoon, patrons who consumed food or beverages at the restaurant between Tuesday, August 6, and Tuesday, August 20, may have been exposed to the virus. As a result, the Health Services Department is offering free hepatitis A vaccines or immune globulin (IG) to anyone who dined at the restaurant between August 16 and August 20 in the teaching center at Southampton Hospital. Preventive treatments can help prevent or lessen the severity of the virus when given within two weeks of exposure, according to the release.

Anyone who was exposed to the virus before August 16 would most likely already be exhibiting symptoms of the virus. If feeling sick, patrons are encouraged to go to their doctor for treatment.

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver, the release says. The virus may be spread by consuming food or drink that has been handled by an infected person, and may also be spread from person to person by consuming something that has been contaminated with fecal material of a person with hepatitis A. The virus is not spread through casual contact.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, stomach pain, dark-colored urine and jaundice. Symptoms typically appear within 28 days of exposure. Most people diagnosed with the virus recover within a few weeks, according to the release.

A manager at Driver’s Seat was not immediately available for comment on Thursday afternoon.

Treatment at Southampton Hospital through the SCDHS will be available on Friday, August 30, from 3 to 6 p.m., Saturday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Tuesday from 3 to 6 p.m. Treatment is also being offered at the SCDHS offices at 3500 Sunrise highway, Suite 124, Great River on Friday, August 30, and Tuesday, September 3, from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m.

Additional information is available by calling 631-854-0333 and at www.cdc.gov.

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Oh dear
By johnj (918), Westhampton on Aug 29, 13 4:36 PM
Better safe than sorry! Get those shots today!
By pageking57 (12), Flanders on Aug 29, 13 6:42 PM
To reiterate: The Suffolk County Department of Health Services will be offering Hepatitis A shots at Southampton Hospital, in the 3rd floor Teaching Center on:

Friday (August 30th) – 3 PM to 6 PM
Saturday (August 31st) – 10 AM to 1 PM
Monday (September 2nd) – 10 AM to 1 PM
Tuesday (September 3rd) – 3 PM to 6 PM
By Robert I Ross (241), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 13 7:34 PM
We've added Sunday (September 1st) - 10 AM to 1 PM to the schedule.

RIR
By Robert I Ross (241), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 13 8:17 PM
Hep A, B, C and whatever strain of the virus one would care to mention have been around since ... ?? And the virus is NOT passed by handling a plate. I'm not making light of this but, I would be tested if I were worried before getting a (perhaps) useless "shot". Thank you for the public service announcement. Just saying.
By Board Watcher (530), East Hampton on Aug 29, 13 11:25 PM
If the waiter's hands were carrying the virus (not washed correctly) could not transmission occur via the plate, especially if he had contact with the food on the plate? The CDC site is not clear.
By PBR (4883), Southampton on Aug 30, 13 5:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HAV/index.htm
By PBR (4883), Southampton on Aug 30, 13 5:47 PM
Per the CDC:

"What should I do if I ate at a restaurant that had an outbreak of Hepatitis A?

"Talk to your health professional or a local health department official for guidance. Outbreaks usually result from one of two sources of contamination: an infected food handler or an infected food source. Your health department will investigate the cause of the outbreak.

"Keep in mind that most people do not get sick when someone at a restaurant has Hepatitis A. However, if an ...more
By PBR (4883), Southampton on Aug 30, 13 6:27 PM
If you ate or drank something on August 6th how will a vaccine prevent Hepatitis nearly a month later? How do they know where the waiter contracted the disease? I will not be going to the Drivers Seat anytime soon.
By chief1 (2562), southampton on Aug 30, 13 9:46 AM
I doubt you will be missed.
By But I'm a blank! (1278), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 2:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
It LITERALLY could happen at any establishment.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 13 2:24 PM
No it literally can't happen anywhere. The SCHD has rules that if you handle food you wash your hands.The restaurant must have a certified person implementing the sanitary code. Who cares where this person got his disease the point is he possibly infected others. If he went to another country and was at risk maybe he should have had the vaccine.
By the way Blank you still are stalking me you little troll. Go away
By chief1 (2562), southampton on Aug 31, 13 8:27 AM
Yes, it can happen anywhere. Try to deal with facts and reality Chief1. Any employee of any establishment could have caught this disease and spread it regardless of protocol.

You're not being stalked, dude, you're being checked. And you keep making statements based on (insert words that will get this post deleted)
Aug 31, 13 10:11 AM appended by But I'm a blank!
FWIW, I haven't been to the Drivers Seat in 10 or 12 years. I'll make it a point to get there this week. You Chief, can go to TGIF's or Joes Crab Shack and send your money to Atlanta.
By But I'm a blank! (1278), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 13 10:11 AM
Chief - there's ZERO evidence that anyone else was infected and that protocol wasn't met. The issue is that the employee didn't know he had Hep A until he got sick, so obviously the potential that others had gotten sick is there.

You say he should have had a vaccine because he went to another country. The same logic applies to everyone in the states since apparently you can contract it in America too! Guess we should all get a shot before going out to eat, no?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 13 10:35 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By chief1 (2562), southampton on Sep 1, 13 8:52 AM
Come on chief that's not right. We need to back our locals. It has nothing to do with the cleanliness of the restaurant.
By 5TH GEN (3), Southampton on Aug 30, 13 2:34 PM
She's a US citizen, is married to a US citizen and has kids who are US citizens - born and raised HB.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 13 7:30 PM
The County Dept. of Health, and the CDC, do not provide any information about the overseas travel of the waiter, nor any information about his residence, whether other family members are affected, and so forth. Is this standard procedure for an isolated case? It seems as if the public could benefit from additional details.
By PBR (4883), Southampton on Aug 30, 13 5:20 PM
Further information about his active sexual partners, and their places of employment (related to food service, at least), would also seem to be relevant. Has the CDC or County Health Dept. ruled out further exposure in this respect?
By PBR (4883), Southampton on Aug 30, 13 5:53 PM
"Further information about his active sexual partners" - Not sure what you mean, are you suggesting the SCDHS post the names of his "active sexual partners" and their places of employment? This isn't an epidemic - it's all precautionary PBR.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 13 11:28 AM
Thanks for the question. No suggestion was made, and the wording ofthe post seems fairly precise IMO. So, without starting WW III here about miscommunications. . .

The last sentence above was the main question:

"Has the CDC or County Health Dept. ruled out further exposure in this respect?"

If the waiter has any sexual partners who also work in the food service industry, one would assume that the SCDHS has investigated the possible chain of exposure, including to other ...more
By PBR (4883), Southampton on Aug 31, 13 11:48 AM
You didn't specify who those "partners" would be relevant too. Just keeping you on your toes PBR, you tend to leave things open to interpretation.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 13 11:56 AM
Gotcha. But now that we are on the topic, in a situation like this, how widely do the authorities cast the net for others who might have been exposed, if the waiter has any active sexual partners?

Do they even ask for further details (if you know)?

The food service industry on the The East End has a fairly fluid staffing situation, and late-night activities tend to run the gamut . . .
By PBR (4883), Southampton on Aug 31, 13 12:05 PM
Did you ever see Outbreak, with Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman? The improbable chain of infection was obviously drummed up for movie-land drama, but . . .

No harm in asking about remote possibilities IMO.
By PBR (4883), Southampton on Aug 31, 13 12:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
But WHO are you asking? That's what I don't understand.. and what answer do you want??
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 13 7:29 PM
???
By PBR (4883), Southampton on Sep 1, 13 7:12 AM
It is reported elsewhere that almost 7,000 diners could possibly have been exposed. [seven thousand -- not a typo]
By PBR (4883), Southampton on Aug 30, 13 10:16 PM
The County Dept. of Health Services has announced extended hours for its hotline on this.

(631) 787-2200

http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/HealthServices.aspx
By PBR (4883), Southampton on Aug 31, 13 11:01 AM
Maybe it's a good time to close the restaurant and get a new chef food is awful and has been for many years!
By S.H. (1), southampton on Aug 31, 13 3:31 PM
2 members liked this comment
ummmm its been under new ownership for at least 1 or 2 years now...
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Sep 3, 13 11:35 AM
Yeah, that's when it went downhill.

Took out the fireplace
destroyed the baked clams
By Draggerman (840), Southampton on Sep 4, 13 5:23 PM
gurney's, new year's eve, celebration, montauk