Napa County Health Officials Tracking Down What Hepatitis A Patients Ate

The two restaurant workers at L Toque restaurant and the three other people who contracted hepatitis A have completed initial questionnaires that ruled out foreign travel as the source of their disease.

The Napa Health Department on Friday has all but ruled out that all five ate at the same restaurant.  Two of the cases involve infected workers at La Toque restaurant and Bank Café and Bar inside the Westin Verasa Napa Hotel between Feb. 9 and 26. Another three cases have no connection to those places or any other public place, health officials said. Now the focus turns onto whether they came in contact with contaminated food bought and sold at places like grocery stores.

Meanwhile, all five people who contracted hepatitis A have recovered, health officials said.

“So now we start looking at what are food products that both groups could havee come into contact with,” said Dr. Karen Smith, Napa County’s public health officer. “And usually that ends up being a food product or something that is processed in another place where there is hepatitis A and distributed widely.”

The five people who had hepatitis A will soon have to fill out a nine-page questionnaire to help health officials narrow down where they might have contracted the virus that is ordinarily is transmitted through person-to-person contact, through feces or through eating contaminated food and causes liver disease. One patient contracted the virus in January.

“It’s not a particularly fun thing to go through,” Smith said of the questionnaire.

The health department has also connected with the state and the CDC’s surveillance network to see if other hepatitis A cases pop up nationwide to check for similarities, which could point to a commercially available food product as the source.  Smith said it wouldn't be a cooked product as the hepatitis A virus wouldn't survive that long. 

“That’s why we are looking very closely at where those people eat,” Smith said. “What did they eat?"

Contact Us