Health officials alert VES

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The Visual Effects Society is notifying attendees of the 2007 VES Awards that those who ate uncooked food at the Feb. 11 reception catered by the Wolfgang Puck Co. might have had a "low risk" of exposure to hepatitis A.

The VES received a letter from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health stating that the department "was recently alerted that an employee at the Wolfgang Puck catering facility in Hollywood was diagnosed with acute hepatitis A." Public Health is investigating the situation and is working closely with Wolfgang Puck catering.

Media reports have focussed on a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue party that Puck catered, where guests faced possible exposure to hepatitis A, but the Public Health Department reported that it has identified nine events in February in which the affected food handler was involved in food preparation.

The letter regarding the VES Awards reads: "After careful examination, it was determined that the risk of exposure to hepatitis A to those that may have consumed food served at events in which this particularly employee was involved is very low. No other cases of hepatitis A have been reported from the situation."

According to the public health department, the date of the VES Awards is past the two-week window in which immune globulin would be effective in prevention. The department, however, recommends that those experiencing symptoms in the seven weeks following the event visit a doctor. Those symptoms may include jaundice, fatigue, fever and chills, accompanied by abdominal pain or vomiting, diarrhea and light-colored stool or dark urine.
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