Caterer exposes celebrity party to Hepatitis A
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Sports Illustrated bash for its annual swimsuit issue has turned into a health scare for stars in Hollywood after a caterer working for celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck may have exposed them to acute Hepatitis A.
The Los Angeles County health department recommended on Tuesday that anyone who ate uncooked food at the U.S. sports magazine's party on February 14 get treatment by Wednesday to avoid developing the serious liver disease.
Guests at the party included singer Beyonce Knowles, former Guns N'Roses bassist Duff McKagan, portly "Borat" co-star Ken Davitian, and a slew of models.
Health officials said the risk was "quite low" and that no Wolfgang Puck pre-packaged foods or restaurants were affected.
Hepatitis A is caused by a virus spread by ingesting something contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Symptoms can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain and jaundice.
Carl Shuster, president of Wolfgang Puck Catering, said the company was working closely with health officials to contact anyone who ate food prepared in its Hollywood kitchen between February 1 and 20.
Shuster said the worker was placed on medical leave and the company has "applied exceptional procedures" to disinfect the kitchens and food processing areas.
"Our catering efforts continue and we remain confident that our guests will receive the highest standards of excellence for which Wolfgang Puck is known," the statement said.
This year's swimsuit issue features Knowles as the cover model, with rapper Kanye West, country star Kenny Chesney and members of the bands Aerosmith and Gnarls Barkley posing with scantily clad models.