• DPH: Employee at Rockport seafood restaurant has hepatitis A

    By: Maria Papadopoulos

    Updated:

    ROCKPORT, Mass. - State health officials are warning the public who ate at a Rockport restaurant about a possible exposure to hepatitis A.

    Anyone who ate cold or uncooked food or who are unsure what they ate at Roy Moore’s Fish Shack in Rockport between April 21 and May 12 should seek medical attention because of possible exposure to hepatitis A, the state Department of Public Health said in a statement Friday. 

    A food service employee of the restaurant who worked during those dates has a confirmed case of hepatitis A.

    Customers are being advised to receive appropriate medical treatment for a possible exposure to hepatitis A. Hepatitis A vaccine and hepatitis A immune globulin may be effective at preventing hepatitis A infection if administered within two weeks of exposure.

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    Confused customers showed up to the popular restaurant on Friday to find a closed sign on the door. 

    "I’m worried now I’m going to have to look into it," said Kenneth Robinson of Rockport.

    Robinson and others shared their concerns. 

    “Now I’m going to have the doctor look into it for me. Yeah, it’s got me nervous," Robinson said.

    Cold or uncooked foods include salads and salad items, rolls, bread, hamburger and hot dog buns, fruit or vegetable garnishes, cold desserts, hamburger or sandwich condiments such as pickles and onions, chips, as well as ice or beverages containing ice.  

    The early signs and symptoms of hepatitis A are fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice (dark urine, yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes). 

    The illness varies in severity, with mild cases lasting two weeks or less and more severe cases lasting four to six weeks or longer. Some individuals, especially children, may not develop jaundice and may have an illness so mild that it can go unnoticed. But even mildly ill persons can still be highly infectious.

    Persons with illness suggestive of hepatitis should seek medical attention even if symptoms are mild, state health officials said.

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    Jim Gutstadt of Rockport is among customers who said the closing comes at a bad time, ahead of Memorial Day weekend. Boston 25 reached out to Roy Moore's Fish Shack to find out when they might reopen but were not able to get an answer.

    “It’s unfortunate. I don’t know a lot about it but it’s always been a good place to eat," Gutstadt said. 

    Robinson agreed. 

    "It’s always been a really well-known local place, you know. The food’s great here and good people. Yeah, I'm surprised," he said. 

    Hepatitis A virus is spread as a result of fecal contamination, via a fecal to oral route, and may be spread from person to person through close contact or through food handling. The virus can be spread by contaminated food and beverages.

    Persons who ate cold or uncooked foods from Roy Moore’s Fish Shack between April 21 and May 12 are urged to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the bathroom and before preparing food to prevent potential further spread of disease.  

    For more information, call the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 617-983-6800.

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