A person at a Pacific Beach restaurant may have exposed an unknown number of customers to hepatitis A on seven different days, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.
Anyone who may have eaten or had a drink at the World Famous restaurant at 711 Pacific Beach Drive in San Diego at specific times on dates in late August and early September "may have been exposed to a person with the hepatitis A virus," according to a statement released Friday morning by the county.
The dates and times of concern at the restaurant are:
Aug. 28, 29 and 30 from 3 to 11 p.m.
Sept. 3 and 4 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sept. 10 and 11 from 3 to 11 p.m.
Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer, said the risk to the public is low, but she urged those who visited the restaurant at those times to get vaccinated.
"We encourage anyone who has not had the hepatitis A vaccine and those who may have been exposed to contact their health care provider," Wooten said.
In a recent outbreak update to the local medical community, the health department states that six food handlers have come down with hepatitis A "although no secondary cases have resulted from the individuals working in these sensitive occupations."
It was not clear Friday whether one of those six was the person referred to in the county's statement.
Erik Berkley, the restaurant's general manager, said Friday that he could not confirm whether the infected person who prompted the county warning was a food server or handler at his establishment. He referred such questions to county public health officers.
Berkley said he was notified of the possible exposure Tuesday. The notification, he said, prompted him to shut down operations immediately. He added that county health inspections found no evidence of hepatitis contamination in the facility, but the company decided, out of an abundance of caution, to hire a private hazmat company to do a deep cleaning overnight.
"At no time did the health department shut us down. We took this step on our own because we wanted to make absolutely sure," Berkley said, whose restaurant still had an "A" health rating hanging in the window.
World Famous reopened Wednesday afternoon, he said.
At the moment, the county said it is not clear whether the person's infection is related to the county's ongoing hepatitis A outbreak, which has killed 16 people and infected more than 400.
The county's North Central Public Health Center, 5055 Ruffin Road, will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide vaccinations to people concerned that they may have been infected.