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San Diego’s Hepatitis Outbreak - Carlos Gamino
News from Attorney Carlos Gamino

Hepatitis Outbreak in San Diego

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By Carlos Gamino

A deadly outbreak of hepatitis in San Diego has been linked to a restaurant on the Pacific Beach boardwalk.

Originally the San Diego Health and Human Services Agency said that the outbreak primarily affected “homeless and/or illicit drug users,” but now health officials are warning people that anyone who visited World Famous Restaurant, which has since closed its doors, could have been exposed to the virus.

Although officials haven’t determined the source of the exposure, employees and customers should be tested for hepatitis A if they were at the restaurant on:

  • August 28, 29 and 30 between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m.
  • September 3 and 4 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • September 10 and 11 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Wilma Wooten, a public health officer for San Diego County, issued a statement that said the public is at low risk – but that “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. We encourage anyone who has not had the hepatitis A vaccine and those who may have been exposed to contact their health care provider.”
The outbreak has caused the deaths of at least 16 people, and more than 420 others have been affected.

“We hired a professional hazmat crew to clean and sanitize our restaurant at a very high level,” said Erik Berkley, the general manager of World Famous Restaurant. “We understand the severity of this issue and will do everything we can to ensure a safe environment for all.”

The restaurant closed immediately after workers discovered the potential exposure. According to NBC San Diego, a particular worker may be the cause. While the restaurant’s manager didn’t say that person would be fired, he did say that the worker would no longer be allowed to handle food.

What Do You Think?

Does this story make you want to prepare more meals at home, or are you aware of these risks when you go out to eat? What do you think about the restaurant allowing the individual to continue working there if he or she really has contributed to this outbreak? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please share them on my Twitter feed or on Facebook using the hashtag #HepASanDiego or  Twitter.

Carlos Gamino