Sunday, March 04, 2007

Hepatitis A Scare for Beyonce's Party

beyonce2.jpgAn unlucky employee of Wolfgang Puck Catering diagnosed with hepatitis A may have donated his virus to guests at several high-profile functions, including Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue party attended by Beyonce Knowles and other pseudo-celebs, officials said.

The risk of illness was 'quite low,' but anyone who ate raw food at the magazine's Feb. 14 party was urged to receive a preventive shot by Wednesday, the LA County Department of Public Health said Tuesday.

The affected employee was placed on medical leave, said Carl Schuster, president of Wolfgang Puck Catering.

'We immediately worked to take every precaution to further safeguard our patrons and other employees,' Schuster said in a statement.

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 our guests and staff as quickly as possible to ensure they receive the relevant health warnings,' the statement said.

Hep A (HAV) is usually spread via the fecal-oral route, i.e. infected people share the yellowing virus through food and water that they handle – after touching their ass. It is more prevalent in low socioeconomic areas in which a lack of adequate sanitation and poor hygienic practices facilitate spread of the infection.

To get technical on your ass, (and for those of you prepping for Boards) Hepatitis A is a 27 nm, nonenveloped, icosahedral, positive-stranded RNA virus classified in the Heparnavirus genus of the Picornaviridae. But you knew that.

According to our favorite medical resource,, community outbreaks due to contaminated water or food have also been described, shellfish being the most popular offender. However, several outbreaks related to consumption of “contaminated” green onions have been reported in the literature.

HAV infection usually results in an acute, self-limited illness and only rarely leads to fulminant hepatic failure.

The two most common physical examination findings are jaundice and hepatomegaly, which occur in 70% and 80% of symptomatic patients, respectively. Less common findings include splenomegaly, cervical lymphadenopathy, evanescent rash, arthritis, and, rarely, a leukocytoclastic vasculitis.

Laboratory findings in symptomatic patients are notable for marked elevations of LFTs (usually >1000 IU/dL), serum total and direct bili, and alk phos. Typically, ALT is higher than the AST and bilirubin levels above 10 mg/dL are not uncommon.

The diagnosis of acute HAV infection is made by the detection of anti-HAV antibodies in a patient with the typical clinical presentation. Serum IgM anti-HAV is the gold standard for the detection of acute illness.

Because the disease is usually self-limited, the treatment is supportive.

But believe us, it would be a lot more than supportive if one of the celebs turned yellow.

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