Hepatitis A warning for SI party
Posted: Tuesday February 27, 2007 11:33PM; Updated: Tuesday February 27, 2007 11:34PM
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Guests at Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue party on Feb. 14 and a dozen other events may have been exposed to Hepatitis A, which was diagnosed in an employee of Wolfgang Puck Catering, authorities said Tuesday.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health urged anyone who ate raw food at the Sports Illustrated event, held at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, to receive an immune globulin shot by Wednesday.
Health officials and event hosts were also contacting attendees of three smaller events between Feb. 14 and 20 that were within the 14-day window during which immune globulin can be administered to prevent illness.
Authorities identified nine other events involving the affected food handler at a time when the worker could have been infectious, but those attendees were already beyond the 14-day window for immune globulin. Hosts and organizers of those events were notified to advise guests to see their doctors if they experience symptoms.
The advisory was issued after the catering employee was diagnosed with acute Hepatitis A. The infected individual was placed on medical leave, said Carl Schuster, president of Wolfgang Puck Catering.
Puck's restaurants and prepackaged foods were not affected, health officials said.
The risk to the Sports Illustrated party guests was "quite low," officials said, and there was no danger to those who ate Puck Catering foods after Feb. 20.
"We immediately worked to take every precaution to further safeguard our patrons and other employees," Schuster said in a statement.
Events catered by the company since Feb. 20 included Sunday's post-Oscars Governors Ball.
Sports Illustrated said in a statement that it was taking the situation very seriously and was working directly with county health authorities.
"We are alerting out guests and staff as quickly as possible to ensure they receive the relevant health warnings," the statement said.
Dr. Jonathan Fielding, county director of public health, said the caterer's response to the situation has been "exemplary."
"Quick action on their part has minimized the number of patrons that may have been exposed to Hepatitis A," he said.