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Union-Tribune: Two San Diego Tourists Contract Hepatitis A

City workers wash down streets and sidewalks Monday in an effort to control a hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego.
Susan Murphy KPBS
City workers wash down streets and sidewalks Monday in an effort to control a hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego.
Union-Tribune: Two San Diego Tourists Contract Hepatitis A
Union-Tribune: Two San Diego Tourists Contract Hepatitis A GUESTS: Lauryn Schroeder, data reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Our top story one of the furor surrounding San Diego's hepatitis A outbreak may have been realized. The Union-Tribune reports that two tourists who visited for a concert in August developed cases of hepatitis A. County officials said the county is aware of the cases. Joining me is Lauryn Schroeder. How did they realize that they contacted hepatitis A questionOne started to show symptoms. They said they did not feel right for a while. Man was hospitalized for four days and he contacted his other friends and said I have hepatitis you need to get to the doctor. By that time the second man had turned yellow and doctors perform blood tests and he was nearing liver failure.The third man had a shot.That is correct.Where did these tourists visit?One of the men dashes family has a condo in Mission Beach so they were staying there. They said they went to the beach and they biked on the boardwalk and they went to the Metallica concert, ate at a few restaurants in San Diego in the Mission Beach area and they also swam in a hotel pool.Did they connect the disease with the trip to San Diego?They did, yes. The incubation period lines perfectly for when they started to show symptoms.What are officials saying about the connection between the hepatitis A outbreak in the tourists?So a reason why a patient reach out to me is that he son article I written about that hepatitis exposure at a Pacific Beach restaurant. They ate at that restaurant and not by might have gotten it there but the employee who contracted the disease was not contagious at the time that these men ate at the restaurant. So county officials are saying that they possibly got it indirectly from this person. He or she wasn't contagious yet but maybe had the virus on his hands and maybe touch something or should cans. County officials are seeing that they were using a public restaurant the beach or Metallica concert.Do we know of any cases that has been linked to this waiter?The county is saying that no new cases came from the employee at world-famous. In terms of other food handlers, we just don't really know. The county has said that there have been 16 additional food handlers that had the disease but they have not alerted the public of where these employees were working or when the exposure might have happened because they didn't identify the cases with enough time to let the public know. When you are exposed to hepatitis A and not vaccinated, there's a window of time that you can still get the vaccine after exposure and potentially prevent yourself from getting the disease. They said that the world-famous case they identified with the left time to let the public know so if you ate during these times are visited during these times, you can still get the vaccine and potentially prevent yourself from getting sick. With those other ones, they did not identify them in time. It wasn't worthwhile to let the public know.Has it been confirmed that it was contracted in San Diego?Yes, doctors told them that the incubation period aligns perfectly with when they visited San Diego and when they returned. Doctors and health officials informed these two patients that the Strait of hepatitis A that they had was a match to the strain of the outbreak in California.Have the two recovered?They have. One man that I talked to said that he starting to feel better now but he said that it's taken six months of his life away. He said that he was unable to walk 100 feet without getting tired. He's been staying with his parents for almost 2 week so he would have someone there with them. He also had a dog and needed someone to walk the dog. He says that some days are better than others. Some days he feels fine and other days he can't get out of bed.What we heard from the beginning was that it was largely concentrated among homeless people in illegal drug users with some ancillary infections of people who are working with that population. Is this the first time we've heard about tourists coming to San Diego and going home with hepatitis A?I don't think this is the first time that they have contracted the disease but these are the first cases that we the public have known about. Patient information is protected under federal and state health law so the county has been very hesitant to release any information that might identify patients. Because the patient reach out to me that's really the only way that we knew about it.I been speaking with Lauryn Schroeder. Thank you.Thank you.

One of the fears surrounding San Diego's hepatitis A outbreak may have been realized.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that two tourists who visited San Diego to attend a Metallica concert in August, developed cases of hepatitis A when they returned home to Utah.

One of the men contacted the Union-Tribune because of reporting about a Pacific Beach restaurant, World Famous, where a worker had tested positive for hepatitis A. The man, 43-year-old Mike Johnson said he and his friends ate at World Famous.


A San Diego County official told the Union-Tribune that the county is aware of the Utah cases.

“We are certain they did not contract hepatitis A from our known case [at World Famous],” county spokesman Michael Workman told the Union-Tribune. “More likely culprits would be publicly-shared bathrooms on or off property, another unknown infected person, or any contaminated surface in or around the establishment.”

Union-Tribune reporter Lauryn Schroeder joins Midday Edition Thursday to discuss the cases.

San Diego County's hepatitis A outbreak has killed 20 people. There have been 544 confirmed hepatitis A cases in the county.