Paterson: Shoppers told to throw away food bought from Brother’s Produce after confirmed Hepatitis A case

State health officials are asking anyone who purchased produce from the Brother’s Produce in Paterson over the past week to discard them due to a confirmed case of Hepatitis A.

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, according to a health alert issued by the New Jersey Department of Health on Friday afternoon.

“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.

Besides throwing away produce purchased in that six-day window, both the New Jersey Health Department and the Paterson Health Department are also asking anyone who may have eaten produce purchased from the business and were not previously vaccinated against Hep A to get post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) done.

PEP is made up of a hepatitis A vaccine and immune globulin which reduces the risk of acquiring the highly contagious liver infection caused by hepatitis A virus. To be effective PEP should be received as soon as possible after eating contaminated food, but no later than Oct. 19.

PEP may be obtained from a health care provider, according to information released Friday.

“We have the capabilities to respond to this incident. Contingency plans are in place for the long weekend to provide Post Exposure Prophylaxis to those without health insurance,” said municipal health officer Paul Persaud.

Those without health insurance can contact the Paterson Health Department which has a limited amount of PEP. The health department is serving adults 19 and up. PEP is being administered at 176 Broadway on first come, first served basis on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. without appointments.

For more information call the Paterson Department of Health at 973-321-1277 x 2757.