Tourists Contracted Hepatitis A in San Diego while at Metallica Concert
In early August, three friends from Salt Lake City visited San Diego for the Metallica concert at Petco Park and two of them unknowingly went back home with hepatitis A. Mike Johnson, 43, was diagnosed with hepatitis A on Sept. 14th, a little more than a month after his trip to San Diego. His eyes and skin had turned a shade of yellow and doctors told him he was nearing liver failure. Johnson’s friend, Josh Oviatt, 44, spent four days in the hospital after being diagnosed with hepatitis A as well. The third friend, Mike Rinna, 51, had previously been vaccinated for hepatitis A and was lucky because he did not get sick. Johnson stated,
It was a nightmare. I was sleeping 14 to 16 hours a night. I couldn’t walk more than 100 feet without getting tired.
According to county health officials, Johnson and Oviatt are unusual cases because homeless individuals and illicit drug users represent the majority of cases and are considered most at-risk. The virus is being spread from feces to mouth so unsanitary conditions, particularly among the region’s growing homeless population, make it more likely to spread. Symptoms of the virus include fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, yellowing of the eyes, stomach pain and vomiting. The usual time period from exposure to showing symptoms is 15 to 50 days, which means Johnson and Oviatt were most likely infected while visiting San Diego. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40 percent of those who contract hepatitis A require hospitalization, but it’s rare for someone to die from the disease. It’s important to always wash your hands thoroughly after using the restroom to avoid getting sick or making other sick.