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Tourists came to San Diego for Metallica, left with hepatitis A

Lauryn Schroeder, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in News & Features

Johnson said he contacted The San Diego Union-Tribune because of one restaurant in particular.

All three men ate and drank at World Famous, the Pacific Beach eatery that was the subject of a September warning from county officials about possible hepatitis A exposure.

On Sept. 15 the county notified the public that a worker at World Famous had tested positive for the disease.

The dates and times of concern at the restaurant are: Aug. 28, 29 and 30 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sept.3 and 4 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sept. 10 and 11 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

A Union-Tribune investigation into the restaurant's inspection history revealed that it had repeatedly violated California food laws. County inspection records show World Famous was cited with seven violations under the California Retail Food Code on Sept. 8, a week before the hepatitis A announcement.

Restaurant managers said the inspection issues were an unfortunate coincidence and had nothing to do with the hepatitis A situation. They also said the health issues had been addressed and corrected.

 

County spokesman Michael Workman said officials are aware of several cases in Utah, including Johnson and Oviatt.

The World Famous employee in question was not contagious when Johnson, Oviatt and Rinna visited the restaurant, Workman said, and it does not appear that the employee spread the disease to anyone else.

"We are certain they did not contract hepatitis A from our known case (at World Famous)," Workman said. "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."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40 percent of those who contract hepatitis A require hospitalization, but it's rare for someone to die from the disease. Death is more common among individuals who are over the age of 50 or have underlying liver problems.

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