Hepatitis In Hollywood: A Public Health Scare

It’s a restaurant owner’s nightmare, and in swanky Los Angeles no less. More than a thousand patrons had to be tracked down recently because of a Hepatitis A outbreak.

Public health officials can’t complain of the level of cooperation from the workers and owners of Cafe Pinot, a classy downtown Los Angeles restaurant.  More than a thousand patrons were called recently and asked to get hepatitis shots in case they were infected.

Public Health Jobs Fight Hepatitis

The public health scare happened when an employee of the restaurant reported he had the disease. Los Angles public health officials knew they had a major headache on their hands.

According to the Los angles Times, this is the fourth hepatitis outbreak at a Los Angeles eatery this year. The first was at an unidentified restaurant. The second outbreak took place at a catered event where 13 people were contaminated.

L.A. Lettuce: A Public Health Culprit?

No one knows the exact source of the hepatitis outbreak, but lettuce is a suspect. Accordingly, public health workers in Los Angeles have been urging residents to clean lettuce, even if it’s advertised as pre-cleaned.

Hepatitis is acutely annoying for public health workers because the disease goes through up to two weeks of gestation before it makes itself known. That time lapse makes it very difficult to effectively isolate the source of the disease.

National Public Health Crisis?

In fact, in the Cafe Pinot outbreak, many of the possibly victims were already as far off as New York or Boston when the news hit, making a local problem a national one.

According to the Times, Hepatitis A is caused by a virus and spread by close contact with an infected person or by eating food or drinking liquid contaminated by the virus. Symptoms include fever, chills, aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, dark urine, and jaundice.

Public Health Career and Jobs

Fighting disease is one of many public health jobs. Disease management can be a core part of any public health mandate and a job many public health careers will be confronted with.