5 Hepatitis A cases in Napa County, 2 linked to hotel

Friday, March 13, 2015
Five cases of Hepatitis A in Napa County.
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There are five confirmed cases of Hepatitis A in Napa County.

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- Doctors in Napa County are trying to keep a small outbreak of Hepatitis A from getting any bigger.

There are five cases altogether. Two of the cases involve restaurant employees at La Toque and Bank Cafe and Bar in the Westin Verasa Hotel. Anyone who ate at those two restaurants between February 9 and 26 may have been exposed, but health officials say the risk is low.

The hotel is sending notices out to guests. No customers are known to have contracted the virus, but symptoms don't usually surface until a month after exposure. Hepatitis A can be contracted through contaminated food and drink. Those who think they may have been exposed will need to monitor their health for about seven weeks. The hotel said it is taking all measures to ensure the safety of its guests and is working closely with the health department.

"It's a very slight chance that if they ate at one of the two restaurants in the hotel that they might have been exposed to Hepatitis A. Again, I stress very unlikely," said Dr. Karen Smith with Napa County Health and Human Services.

A worker told ABC7 News that management has asked them not to talk to reporters. They were talked to about risks.

"We don't want people to overact, but on the other hand, we don't want someone who does develop it to have their physician thing they have something else," said Dr. Smith.

Current hotel guests tell us they were not told about the Hepatitis cases, but they are not concerned.

"Not for me. I had my shots I am good," said a hotel guest.

Another hotel guest said, "No I have kids. I get sick all the time so it's no big deal."

"I've been here over 10 years and the most we've ever had in a year was one and the last one was five years ago," said Dr. Smith.

Some Napa residents are worried about the visitors who were here during the exposure time frame.

"I feel bad. I am sure they are never going to come back to Napa. I wouldn't I am sure they are scared," said Napa resident Christy Rincon.

"Actually we have no evidence whatsoever that there is transmission ongoing since the end of January," said Dr. Smith.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection. It's usually transmitted person-to-person or by eating contaminated food. The symptoms include fatigue, nausea, fever, joint pain and jaundice - which is a yellowing of the skin and eyes.

The Westin Verasa Napa issued this statement to ABC7 News:

"We continue to assist Napa County Public Health in its investigation. Our guests' health and safety is most important and we took all appropriate precautions when we learned of the diagnoses. There have been no known cases involving hotel guests or customers at the two establishments."

The three other cases in Napa have nothing to do with the hotel or other public settings.

Officials haven't figured out the source of the infection.