Health Officials: Patrons Possibly Exposed to Hepatitis A at NYC Restaurant

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Patrons of a popular restaurant in New York City are being told to get precautionary Hepatitis A vaccinations.

A food handler at Alta restaurant in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan tested positive for the virus. City health officials say any patron who ate dessert there between March 23 and April 2 should get a shot.

Free vaccinations will be offered over the weekend and Monday.

Dr. Jay Varma, Deputy Commissioner for Disease Control, warns that the popular Manhattan restaurant could have potentially exposed thousands. As many as 3,000 people, including tourists as well as New Yorkers, may have visited the restaurant on the dates in question.

"This is a popular restaurant, and we know Manhattan is a destination for a lot of people not just in the city [of New York], but all over the United States and certainly around the world," warned Varma. "People who are outside of New York who did eat dessert [at Alta] during that period should consult with their local health department or with their primary care doctor to get vaccinated."

Varma says the incident is a great reminder to us to practice good food safety not just in restaurants, but also in our homes.

"That means washing your hands carefully after you go to the bathroom, before you prepare food, and certainly before you eat any food," he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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