It sounded like a great way to spend Valentine’s Day: celebrating the debut of Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Issue, surrounded by cover girl Beyonce and some of the world’s hottest models. And then someone went and invited hepatitis A to B’s party.
After a prep cook working for Wolfgang Puck Catering was diagnosed with an acute case of hepatitis A, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health had several Hollywood publicists and event planners scrambling to notify guests at the Feb. 14 SI affair at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center that they may have been exposed to the virus and should make an effort to immediately receive an immune globulin shot.
Notable names in attendance included Beyonce; all of the major Sports Illustrated swimwear models including Bar Refealli, Veronica Verakova, Yamilla Diaz-Rahi, Ana Beatriz Barros, Marisa Miller, Brooklyn Decker; Playboy model Joanna Krupa; Borat‘s Ken Davitian; model/actress Rachel Sterling (Wedding Crashers); Guns n Roses’ musician Duff McKagan and his wife, swimwear designer Susan Holmes; and several professional athletes.
There have been no reports of illness among the guests, famous or otherwise.
News of the potential for contracting the virus was sent out late Tuesday evening urging guests—especially those who had eaten raw food at the event, which featured buffet tables filled with sushi and fresh vegetables—by the following day. Hepatitis A has a 14-day window for immunization, giving the attendees about 24 hours to secure treatment, although risk of infection is considered low.
Prior to the party Beyonce had told People.com she “was so terrified with every little thing I ate this year,” referring to staying in shape for her swimsuit photo shoot. But now she and the top models may be even more wary about the food they consume.
Video crewmembers from Hollywood.com were among the many media outlets also attending the event.
The SI event was the largest of four events occurring between Feb. 14 and Feb. 20 in which guests still had time to receive immunization. Although celebrity chef Puck’s company was also responsible for the food at the Academy Awards Governors Ball, that was not one of the parties affected, and none of Puck’s signature restaurants, cafes or line of consumer products were affected in any way.
The Public Health Department identified nine other events in which the affected food handler was involved while the worker may have been infectious. However attendees at those events are beyond the 14-day period for administration of immune globulin. Hosts and organizers of these events are also being notified so that they can share with their guests the need to see a physician if they experience symptoms of hepatitis A so that they can receive appropriate care.
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