JANUARY 6, 2011

Potential Hepatitis A Exposure

Additional Clinics for Preventative Treatment

Based on the on-going hepatitis A investigation, and in consultation with the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Nassau County Department of Health is recommending that individuals that received Holy Communion at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, located at 855 Carmans Road, Massapequa Park on the following dates and times be vaccinated against hepatitis A.  Nassau County Department of Health has learned that the remaining unused Holy Communion Hosts (wafers) may have been offered to individuals attending the following Masses:

Christmas Day, December 25, 2010 at the1:30 pm Mass and,

Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:30 am, 12:00 pm and 1:30 pm Masses.

As previously announced, individuals who received Holy Communion Hosts on December 25, 2010 at the 10:30 am and 12:00 pm Masses have been advised and are still able to receive preventative vaccination against hepatitis A exposure at the below offered clinics.

 The preventative vaccine/therapy will be available on:

Friday, January 7, 2011 – 7:00 am to 12:00 pm

Our Lady of Lourdes Church School Auditorium

855 Carmans Road

Massapequa Park, New York 11762

Friday, January 7, 2011 – 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm (by appointment only:  516.227.9496)

Nassau County Department of Health

106 Charles Lindbergh Boulevard

Uniondale, New York 11553

New York State Department of Health has provided Nassau County Department of Health with the following statement:

"The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has been working closely with Nassau County health officials since the situation first arose and will continue to provide assistance to the county in this matter as long as necessary to protect public health. The State DOH strongly supports the county’s quick actions to prevent the spread of hepatitis A to others."

Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus.  Hepatitis A virus may be spread by consuming food or drink that has been handled by an infected person. It may also be spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool of a person with hepatitis A.    Casual contact, as in sitting in church during mass, office or school setting, does not spread the virus. 

The symptoms of Hepatitis A may range from mild to severe and include an abrupt onset of fever, fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, stomach pain, dark-colored urine and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).  The disease is rarely fatal and most people recover in a few weeks without any complications.  The symptoms commonly appear within 28 days of exposure, with a range of 15-50 days.  There are no special medicines or antibiotics that can be used to treat a person once symptoms appear.  Generally bed rest is all that is needed.  Thorough hand washing after bathroom use and before, during and after food preparation is the most important means to prevent the spread of this and other intestinal illnesses.  Sharing of food and utensils should be discouraged especially whenever anyone is ill.

Individuals exposed to hepatitis A should receive immune globulin (IG) or a hepatitis A vaccination within 2 weeks of exposure to a person who is contagious with hepatitis A infection.  Individuals who have been vaccinated for hepatitis A or who have had the illness in the past are protected from hepatitis A infections, and there is no need for further action.

For additional information on the potential hepatitis A exposure at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, please call the Nassau County Department of Health at 516.227.9496 between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:45 pm.  Additional information on hepatitis A is available on the Nassau County Department of Health web site at http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Health/index.html