September 27, 2005
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) learned today that some 400 people from Texas who attended the Global Gaming Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center Sept. 13 or 14 may have been exposed to hepatitis A by an infected individual who worked at the conference.
The individual was handing out samples of ice cream at a Schwan's Food Service booth and may have contaminated the ice cream. Officials said that if contamination occurred, it was in the serving process at the expo, not in the manufacturing process.
DSHS officials advise attendees who ate ice cream from the booth to contact a physician for an immune globulin shot. The shot can prevent the development of hepatitis A illness if given in time.
Ideally, the shot should be given within 14 days of exposure to be effective.
Hepatitis A symptoms, which normally last a week or two, include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort. Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes, may occur a few days after symptoms appear.
Anyone with these symptoms should contact a physician for treatment of symptoms, if appropriate, and to assess the need for immune globulin shots for family members or other close contacts.
Hepatitis A is usually spread person-to-person through a fecal-oral transmission route.
Thorough hand washing after visits to the restroom, before touching food or drink and after changing a diaper is the best way to control the spread of hepatitis A.
( News media: for more information contact Doug McBride, DSHS Press Officer, Austin, 512-458-7524 or 512-532-4971.)