Possible Hepatitis a Exposure at Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 23, 2005

LAS VEGAS – Sept. 23, 2005 – Persons who attended the Global Gaming Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center (September 13-15, 2005) on September 13-14 may have been exposed to hepatitis A through an infected individual who worked at the conference.

The individual was working at a Schwan’s Food Service booth and was handing out samples of ice cream. The individual serving the product is considered the source of possible exposure and not the ice cream product. Thus, the Southern Nevada Health District has the unique opportunity to notify attendees who may have come into contact with this individual to offer preventive treatment. It is also important to note the infected individual did not show symptoms of the illness until after the conference nor did he know he was infected. The individual was exposed to hepatitis A at an event unrelated to the Gaming Expo, but would have been infectious at the time he was there.

The Southern Nevada Health District will hold a clinic on Saturday, September 24 and Sunday, September 25, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Ravenholt Public Health Center located at 625 Shadow Lane. The purpose of the clinic is to provide preventive treatment to local individuals who attended the conference and were served ice cream from this booth on September 13-14. Although there is no treatment for hepatitis A, symptoms can be prevented in exposed persons who receive gamma globulin within 14 days of their exposure. For more information on the clinic call (702) 759-INFO (4636).

Anyone who has previously had hepatitis A or has been vaccinated for hepatitis A is immune and therefore not at risk for getting the disease. The virus is not passed through the air. In this specific situation a person is most at risk for becoming infected if they ate the food product handled by the infected individual. Not everyone who is exposed to the virus becomes infected. However, it is not possible to predict who or how many people will develop the illness.

Hepatitis A is a disease caused by a virus that results in inflammation of the liver. Initial symptoms are usually fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and malaise. This is usually followed by dark colored urine and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). While the illness can be serious, most people feel better after one or two weeks.

For more information on hepatitis A, or the circumstances of exposure at this conference, call (702) 759-1300 and press option #5.

Visit the Media Contacts webpage for media related inquiries.

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