Hundreds of patrons of a posh Manhattan hotspot – including A-list celebrities who attended actor Ashton Kutcher’s 30th birthday party there – may have been exposed to hepatitis A, health chiefs said.
Demi Moore, her ex-husband Bruce Willis, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ivanka Trump and Madonna reportedly attended the event at Socialista, in the West Village. It was not clear whether any celebrities had been vaccinated.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene offered free vaccines until today to anyone who had been to Socialista during the city’s Fashion Week this month, after a barman was found to have the infectious disease.
More than 700 people may have been exposed to the liver disease, health officials said.
“I just can’t believe that in a restaurant as fancy as it was, that they would have this problem,” said James Trinko, 29, after he received a vaccination at a nearby school.
The hepatitis A virus is found in faecal matter. If someone with the disease does not wash his or her hands properly and handles food or drink, the virus can be spread.
The Socialista barman, whose name was not released, handled glasses and garnishes and there was no soap behind the bar, said health department spokeswoman Jessica Scaperotti.
The disease is rarely fatal, she said, and recommended that people be vaccinated within two weeks of exposure.
“Most people recover within a few weeks with bed rest and avoiding alcoholic beverages,” she said.
Symptoms include jaundice – the yellowing of eyes and skin – fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhoea. No medication or antibiotics exist to treat the disease.