Customers and employees of a seaside eatery in Pacific Beach may have been exposed to hepatitis A over seven days between late August and Monday of this week, but the risk of infection is small, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported today.
The potential for exposure occurred at World Famous, 711 Pacific Beach Drive, on:-- Aug. 28, 29 and 30 between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m.;-- Sept. 3 and 4 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.; and-- Sunday and Monday of this week from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
County health officials stressed that there is no known risk of hepatitis exposure at the restaurant now or on other dates.``The risk to the public is low, but anyone who ate or had beverages at the restaurant on those dates and times should be aware of the signs and symptoms of hepatitis A,'' said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. ``We encourage anyone who has not had the hepatitis A vaccine and those who may have been exposed to contact their health care provider.
''Wooten said the early signs and symptoms of hepatitis A appear two to seven weeks after exposure and commonly include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, light color stools, pain in the upper right abdomen, and yellowness to the eyes or skin -- known as jaundice.
Hepatitis A varies in severity, with mild cases lasting two weeks or less and in more severe cases lasting four to seven weeks or longer. Some individuals, especially children, may not develop jaundice or any symptom at all. However, even mildly ill people can still be highly infectious and should consult a physician, Wooten said.
Someone with hepatitis can be contagious to others before they develop symptoms, according to the HHSA.The county's North Central Public Health Center will have special hours tomorrow, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to administer hepatitis A vaccinations. The center is located at 5055 Ruffin Road in Kearny Mesa.
Wooten said it's too early to tell if the restaurant case is linked to the current hepatitis A outbreak, which has sickened 421 people in the region since November, 16 of them fatally. Around two-thirds of those who have fallen ill in the outbreak were homeless and/or users of illicit drugs, she said.
Find out more about the symptoms of Hepatitis HERE
Photo Credit: 10News
The General Manager of the restaurant released the statement below:
First and foremost World Famous restaurant would like to thank all of our loyal guests and reassure them that food safety and sanitation is of the utmost importance to our establishment. In conjunction with San Diego County Health Department World Famous is taking all steps necessary to combat this city wide issue. Since being notified by San Diego County Health Department of a potential exposure we immediately conducted the following:
We closed our restaurant immediately
We hired a professional HAZMAT crew to clean and sanitize our restaurant at a very high level, that crew was on sight within 2 hours of being notified and worked through the night to get their job done
We have whole heartedly complied with any and all requests made by San Diego County Health Department and will continue to do so
The individual in question has been removed from the establishment
We understand the severity of this issue and will do everything we can to ensure a safe environment for all.