Stars may need Hep A shot after birthday bash

February 21, 2008 5:23:17 PM PST
Patrons, including celebrities, of a New York City bar may have been exposed to Hepatitis A. A bartender was diagnosed with the illness.

Celebrities Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher and Madonna are among hundreds of patrons being urged by health officials Thursday to get a Hepatitis A vaccination.

Local media reports said Moore hosted a 30th birthday bash for her husband Kutcher at Socialista on Feb. 7 after a star-studded dinner at Gemma restaurant.

Guests who reportedly attended at the Socialista event include Gwyneth Paltrow, Ivanka Trump, Liv Tyler, Catherine Keener, Lucy Liu, Salma Hayek, Javier Bardem, Eric Dane, Rebecca Gayheart and fashion designer Roberto Cavalli.

Hepatitis A is spread by putting something in one's mouth that has been contaminated with traces of fecal matter from an infected person.

Any patron who visited the establishment after 8 p.m. on February 7th or 8th, or after 10 p.m. on February 11th (the times the infected person worked after becoming infectious), is considered to be at risk and needs a preventive shot.

The bar owners, who are cooperating fully with the Health Department, estimate that about 700 to 800 people may have visited on these nights. No additional cases of illness have been identified.

People can visit their regular doctor to receive this shot. The Health Department will also offer free vaccinations at P.S. 41 elementary school at 116 West 11th Street (at 6th Avenue) in Manhattan to patrons at the following times:

Friday, February 22, 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. Saturday, February 23, 1 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Sunday, February 24, 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

People who were exposed but have already received two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine sometime in their life do not need another shot; all others should be vaccinated.

"We are asking these bar patrons to get this vaccination as a precautionary measure," said Dr. Sharon Balter, Medical Epidemiologist at the Health Department. "If people experience symptoms, they should see a doctor, but for most people bed rest and avoiding alcohol are all that is needed to recover. This incident serves as an important reminder to always wash hands thoroughly and regularly to prevent the spread of disease."