Fast Reaction to Health Scare at Gymnastics Trade Show

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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San Jose, CA – There were no back flips or balancing acts as managers of the USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show responded to a hepatitis scare.The association used its Web site and an e-mail blast to its members to spread the word to those who had attended the August 16-18 event in San Jose that smoothies served at an exhibitor’s booth could have been contaminated by Hepatitis A.

The alert issued by USA Gymnastics did not attempt to lay out the situation to the readers, but instead referred them directly to statements put out by the Centers for Disease Control and the smoothie company.

“According to the CDC, the risk of exposure is small, but we urge you to read the linked document and follow their recommendations for the proper course of action,” the e-mail said.

A separate news release from the exhibitor that had served the smoothies contained additional boilerplate on the nature of the disease and the standard courses of treatment. It also noted that the smoothie maker was prepared to pick up the tab for medical care.

Hepatitis A is a viral disease that can be transmitted from person to person and is a particular risk if a food handler is infected. Symptoms can show up between 15 and 50 days of infection.

In the case of the gymnastics show, the source of the possible infection was a food worker who prepared ingredients off site and was not present at San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

Reach Kathy Feldman, vice president of member services, USA Gymnastics, at (800) 345-4719 or kfeldman@usa-gymnastics.org