About Hepatitis

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Outbreak News

No slowdown, no changes at border

Friday, November 28, 2003

By Lillian Thomas, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

OTAY MESA, Calif. -- Alma Guadalupe Gomez, an angel-faced 7 year old, sat with her baby brother in the cab of a blue Kenworth 18-wheeler in a big truck stop just north of the Mexican border, waiting for their father to pump diesel fuel so they could go get something to eat.

Roberto Gomez, 29, drives seven days a week, carrying produce from San Quintin, about four hours south of here. He is paid about $40 to $50 per trip. Because he's home so rarely, most weekends he takes his family along.

His wife, Alma, 29, said that the three kids -- little Alma, Maria Fernanda, 3, and 6-month-old Roberto -- love traveling with their father. Five in a cab doesn't seem excessive to her.

"It's a chance for us to be together," she said.

Gomez said he hasn't seen any change in border crossing procedures since the news of hepatitis A outbreaks and the announcement that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was going to detain shipments from Mexico.

If there is a slowdown or shutdown of onion production, he doesn't think it will affect him much.

"There are so many products grown in San Quintin," he said. "They are always harvesting something. I don't worry."

(Lillian Thomas can be reached at lthomas@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3566.)

More on this outbreak: Chi-Chi's Hepatitis A Outbreak

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