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August 16, 2019

Philly health department warns of potential Hepatitis A exposure at Kensington restaurant

Health officials urge patrons of Imperial Kitchen to get vaccinated

Illness Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A outbreak in United States PA Images/PA Images

A vaccination syringe is pictured above. Hepatitis A infections have increased in the United States during the last three years despite an effective vaccine being available.

Patrons of a Chinese takeout restaurant in Kensington may have been exposed to Hepatitis A, the Philadelphia health department warned on Friday.

Health officials urged patrons of Imperial Kitchen, located at 3164 Frankford Ave., to receive a Hepatitis A vaccine as soon as possible. They recently confirmed a food worker there has acute Hepatitis A, a liver virus that is be transmitted through contaminated food or water. 

The warning stressed that the risk of infection is "very low." But the department said anyone who visited the restaurant between July 21 and Aug. 6 should receive the vaccine.

People who previously received the vaccine or previously had Hepatitis A do not need to be vaccinated.

Earlier this month, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley declared a public health emergency due to the rapid increase of Hepatitis A in the city.

Hepatitis A spreads when an infected person does not properly wash their hand after using the bathroom and then handles food. Symptoms typically occur two to six weeks after contact. They range from mild cases of diarrhea and vomiting to jaundice.

The virus cannot be treated with a medication. Most people get better at home, but some can require hospitalization. Anyone with symptoms, which also include fever, low energy, stomach pain and dark urine, should contact their doctor immediately.

Health officials encouraged Imperial Kitchen patrons to contact their healthcare provider or visit a pharmacy to receive the vaccine. The department maintains a list of places where people with insurance can be vaccinated. 

The department also will offer free vaccines at McPherson Square Park on Aug. 20 and Aug. 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Anyone needing assistance getting the vaccine is asked to contact the health department at (215) 685-6741.


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