Municipal health officials at the Board of Health ran out of Hepatitis A vaccines on Saturday morning as the city grapples with an incident where a potentially infectious Brother’s Produce employee handled food sold to the public.
50 vaccines were administered in matter of two hours, said health officer Paul Persaud. He said more vaccines will be supplied by the New Jersey Department of Health on Wednesday.
Anyone who is uninsured and requires post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) which consists of a Hepatitis A vaccine and immune globulin to reduce risk of acquiring Hepatitis A is asked to call and leave a message at the Paterson Health Department hotline at 973-321-1277 x 2757. Health officials will reach out to them once vaccines are available.
Those with insurance should seek post-exposure prophylaxis from their health care provider, according to the alert issued by the New Jersey Department of Health on Friday afternoon. To be effective PEP should be received as soon as possible after eating contaminated food, but no later than Oct. 19.
The alert stated a food handler employed by Brother’s Produce at 327 East Railway Avenue tested positive for Hepatitis A. The person worked while “potentially infectious” between Sept. 30 and Oct. 5, 2019.
Anyone who purchased produce from Brother’s Produce, a very popular shop for produce in northern New Jersey, during that six-day window is being urged to throw them out.
“Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation and affect your liver’s ability to function,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
Hepatitis A is spread through close person-to-person contact and contaminated food. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, poor appetite, dark yellow urine, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and yellow skin or eyes.
Symptoms typically appear within 3-4 weeks after infection.