About Hepatitis

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About Hepatitis Blog

Person to Person Hepatitis A growing in US

When hearing about hepatitis A, many people think about contaminated food and water. However, in the United States, hepatitis A is more commonly spread from person to person. Since March 2017, CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH) has been assisting multiple state and local health departments with hepatitis A outbreaks, spread through person-to-person contact.

The hepatitis A vaccine is the best way to prevent hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection 

  • The following groups are at highest risk for acquiring HAV infection or developing serious complications from HAV infection in these outbreaks and should be offered the hepatitis A vaccine in order to prevent or control an outbreak:
    • People who use drugs (injection or non-injection)
    • People experiencing unstable housing or homelessness 
    • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
    • People who are currently or were recently incarcerated 
    • People with chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C
  • One dose of single-antigen hepatitis A vaccine has been shown to control outbreaks of hepatitis A.1,2
  • Pre-vaccination serologic testing is not required to administer hepatitis A vaccine. Vaccinations should not be postponed if vaccination history cannot be obtained or records are unavailable.

CDC has provided outbreak-specific considerations for hepatitis A vaccine administration and has updated its overall recommendations on the prevention of hepatitis A virus infection in the United States.

Long Beach Meals on Wheels linked to Hepatitis A exposure

The Long Beach Post reports that health officials in Long Beach notified recipients of Meals on Wheels that they may have been exposed to hepatitis A, a highly contagious liver infection, in late May and June.

The nonprofit delivers meals five times a week to about 400 people in Long Beach who can’t shop for themselves and live alone, most of them elderly. The Long Beach Health Department sent letters to those who consumed food delivered by the agency on May 23, May 31, June 6 and June 13, warning them of the possible exposure.

The individuals “were notified as standard public health practice, but the risk of developing Hepatitis A infection is low,” the Health Department said in a statement Thursday. “Meals on Wheels has cooperated fully and there is no ongoing risk to eating Meals on Wheels food.”

Meals on Wheels Executive Director Bill Cruikshank said the incident stemmed from a volunteer who was helping package food, but couldn’t provide further details due to privacy laws.

“This was a very low-risk exposure,” he said.

The Health Department advised those who were notified to get vaccinated for hepatitis A if they haven’t already, and to monitor any symptoms of the illness, which include diarrhea, stomach pain, dark-colored urine, fever, jaundice, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and muscle pain.

There is no treatment for the virus, which typically goes away on its own.

The virus is spread through contact with someone who is positive, or by ingesting food or water that has been contaminated with feces from an infected person.

More with Hepatitis A linked to Strawberries

As of May 31, 2022, a total of 18 outbreak-associated cases of hepatitis A have been reported from 3 states – California (16), Minnesota (1) and North Dakota (1).  Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 28, 2022, to May 6, 2022. Ill people range in age from 9 to 73 years, with a median age of 57.5 years. Sixty-seven percent of ill people are female. Of 18 people with available information, 13 (72%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate that fresh organic strawberries, imported from Baja California, Mexico, are the likely source of this outbreak. The potentially affected FreshKampo and HEB products are past shelf life and no longer available for purchase in the United States. People who purchased FreshKampo or HEB fresh organic strawberries during March 5, 2022, through April 15, 2022, and then froze those strawberries for later consumption should not eat them. These products may have been sold at the following retailers, including, but not limited to: HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Weis Markets, and WinCo Foods. One downstream recall from a company that may have used strawberries linked to this outbreak to make a product has been initiated. The recall is for Urban Remedy Organic Revitalizing Tea Tonic Strawberry Hibiscus Rose. People should not drink the recalled tea.

In Canada, As of June 2, 2022, there are 10 laboratory-confirmed cases of hepatitis A illness being investigated in two provinces: Alberta (4) and Saskatchewan (6). Individuals became ill between early and mid-April 2022. Individuals who became ill are between 10 to 75 years of age. Four individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation into the FreshKampo brand fresh organic strawberries purchased between March 5 and 9, 2022 at Co-op stores in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Currently, there are no food recall warnings associated with this outbreak.

The U.S. CDC and FDA are also investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A infections potentially linked to fresh organic strawberries. Investigators in Canada and the U.S. continue to collaborate to exchange information and identify commonalities in the outbreak information that may identify additional sources of illness or help to identify the cause of contamination in the fresh organic strawberries.

A History of Hepatitis A Lawsuits

The hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have many years of experience working with clients on Hepatitis A outbreak lawsuits.

Hepatitis A is one of five human hepatitis viruses (hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E) that primarily infect the liver and cause illness. It is a communicable (or contagious) disease that spreads from person-to-person through fecal-oral contact, often from an infected food handler contaminating food. The cases the Marler Clark hepatitis A lawyers have been involved in have generally resulted from contaminated food or water.

An estimated 80,000 hepatitis A cases and an estimated 100 deaths due to acute liver failure brought on by hepatitis A occur each year in the U.S. The rate of infection has dramatically decreased since the hepatitis A vaccine was licensed and became available in 1995. Despite the decrease in hepatitis A cases nationally, Marler Clark has represented clients young and old who have become ill with hepatitis A after eating contaminated food or who were exposed to the virus and had to receive an injection to prevent illness.

The Marler Clark hepatitis A attorneys have unmatched experience representing victims of hepatitis A. Our law firm represented victims of notable hepatitis A outbreaks such as the 2003 Chi Chi’s hepatitis A outbreak, the 2005 California lettuce hepatitis A outbreak, and the 2010 Quad-Cities McDonald’s hepatitis A outbreak. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

What to know about Hepatitis A

Viral hepatitis is a major global public health problem affecting hundreds of millions of people and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Five biologically unrelated hepatotropic viruses cause most of the global burden of viral hepatitis: hepatitis A virus (HAV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis D (delta) virus (HDV), and hepatitis E virus (HEV).  

Hepatitis A is a communicable (or contagious) disease that is acquired primarily by the fecal oral route either from person to person or through contaminated food or water. Food-related outbreaks are most commonly associated with contamination of food during preparation by an HAV-infected food handler. The food handler may not recognize they are contagious or ill because the peak time of infectivity—that is, when the most virus is present in the stool of an infected individual—occurs during the two weeks before symptoms begin. The clinical manifestations and duration of illness vary a great deal, with many persons, especially young children, showing no symptoms at all. The clinical signs of HAV infection include dark urine and, sometimes, clay-colored stool, often accompanied or followed by jaundice. Associated symptoms may involve fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, and extreme fatigue. Hepatitis A is the only common vaccine-preventable foodborne disease in the United States. Each year, approximately 3,700 to 10,000 cases of hepatitis A occur in the United States.

In New York, come for the Dunkin Donuts, leave with Hepatitis A? Walmart too?

Food Service Workers should get a damn Vaccine.

Chemung County is alerting the public to a potential exposure of a confirmed case of the Hepatitis A virus.

The Chemung County Health Department launched a disease investigation of a Schuyler County resident who worked at two area Dunkin Donuts while infected.

Now, the county is setting up a free clinic for community members, urging those who may have had any contact with the infected individual to get a vaccine to protect against Hepatitis A. Those details can be found below.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus. More in-depth details about the virus can be found below.

Officials say, following laboratory testing, interviews and a restaurant inspection, an employee who handles food at Dunkin Donuts on Corning Road (Miracle Mile) in Elmira Heights was identified with the Hepatitis A virus.

The worker also worked one day at the Dunkin Donuts in the Walmart store on County Road 64 in Horseheads.

The Dunkin locations have been notified of the potential exposure and the employee has not worked since February 11th.

Additionally, the Health Department has advised the manager to send any staff reporting Hepatitis A virus related symptoms for medical evaluation before returning to work.

Employees of the restaurant will be offered post exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which is medicine to prevent Hepatitis A after a possible exposure.

Dunkin Donuts in Elmira Heights will be subject to additional inspections over the coming weeks and is complying with NYSDOH recommendations.

As a result of this potential Hepatitis A virus exposure, the Chemung County Health Department is advising anyone who ate food or drinks via dine-in, takeout, delivery or utilized the restroom at Dunkin Donuts in Elmira Heights (2501 Corning Rd., Elmira Heights, NY 14903) on February 9 or February 11, 2021 to receive free Hepatitis A vaccine from the Chemung County Health Department to prevent potentially exposed individuals from becoming infected.

Masks are required at the clinic. The vaccination clinic will be held at:

Where: Mass Vaccination Clinic, 17 Aviation Dr., Horseheads, NY 14845

When: Saturday February 20th from 9 am to Noon and Sunday, February 21st Noon to 3 pm

Those attending the Clinic are encouraged to pre-register to save time during the onsite registration process. Pre-registration may be completed prior to arrival by visiting, www.chemungcountyny.gov/HepA and look for the pre-registration links.

“We encourage those who may have been exposed during these specific timeframes to visit the clinic to receive free post exposure prophylaxis,” stated Public Health Director Peter Buzzetti.

Those who ate food or drinks via dine-in, takeout, delivery or utilized the restroom at either Dunkin Donuts locations between January 26, 2021 and February 5, 2021 may have been exposed but will not benefit from Hepatitis A vaccine to prevent infection from this exposure and are encouraged to monitor themselves and their families for symptoms for 50 days after consuming the food.

Those who develop symptoms suggestive of Hepatitis A virus should seek medical evaluation.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A virus can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  •  Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

The disease is rarely fatal and most people recover in a few weeks without any complications. Adults have signs and symptoms of illness more often than children.

Infants and young children tend to have very mild symptoms and are less likely to develop jaundice than are older children and adults. Not everyone who is infected will have all of the symptoms.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus. It can range from no symptoms at all, to a mild illness lasting a few weeks, to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, Hepatitis A can cause death in some people.

Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. This can happen from eating at a restaurant, sharing food or drink, or eating when traveling in one of the many countries outside the United States with a high Hepatitis A infection rate.

Those with a past infection from Hepatitis A cannot be re-infected. He or she is immune for life and does not continue to carry the virus.

People who are most at risk of Hepatitis A include:

  • People with direct contact with someone who has a Hepatitis A infection. This can occur up to 2 weeks before the infected person develops symptoms, so you may not be aware of your exposure at the time.
  • Travelers to countries where Hepatitis A is common, which include most countries outside the United States. More information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s web site: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/hepatitis-a
  • Men who have sexual contact with men,
  • People who use drugs, both injection and non-injection drugs, and
  • Homeless individuals

For more information about Hepatitis A, visit: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/hepatitis/hepatitis_a/food_service_workers_fact_sheet.htm

Mississippi Papa John's linked in Hepatitis A fear

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is investigating a case of hepatitis A in a De Soto County restaurant employee which may have led to possible exposure for customers.

An employee of Papa John’s Pizza in Horn Lake, 906 Goodman Road, has been diagnosed with hepatitis A infection. While infectious, the employee worked at the restaurant from January 28 – February 11, 2020. Customers who ate at the restaurant or received a pizza delivery on those days may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

Vaccination can prevent hepatitis A only if given within 14 days of exposure. Because those who ate at the restaurant (or received a pizza delivery) between January 28th and February 5th would have been exposed more than 14 days ago, they should watch for any possible symptoms of hepatitis A and see their doctor if they become ill. Those who ate at the restaurant or had pizza delivered from February 6th to February 11th should get a hepatitis A vaccination if they have not been previously vaccinated.

Those who think they may have been exposed to this case can receive a hepatitis A vaccination free of charge from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, February 20th and Friday, February 21st at the De Soto County Health Department, 8705 Northwest Drive, Building A, Suite 1 in Southaven.

“The risk of transmission of hepatitis A in this situation is likely very low. However, as a precaution, we recommend that anyone who ate food from this restaurant between February 6th and February 11th should consider getting a hepatitis A vaccination if they have not done so already. And again, those who may have been exposed between January 28th and February 5th should watch for any possible symptoms of hepatitis A and see their doctor if they become ill,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.

“The management and staff of the Papa John’s are fully cooperating with MSDH to prevent illnesses as a result of this exposure,” said Byers.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that causes fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), abdominal pain and dark colored urine. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool (feces) from an infected person. If you think you have symptoms of hepatitis A, you should contact your healthcare provider.

Everyone can prevent the spread of hepatitis A by carefully washing hands with soap and water, including under the fingernails, after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.

As a reminder, there is an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in Mississippi and surrounding states affecting those who use drugs, those who are in jail or were recently in jail, those with unstable housing or who are homeless, and men who have sex with men. The MSDH continues to recommend hepatitis A vaccination for those specific groups as well.

Mississippi Gumbo Pot tied to Hepatitis A ill employee

The Mississippi State Department of Health is investigating a case of hepatitis A in a Warren County restaurant.
An employee of the Gumbo Pot on Halls Ferry Road in Vicksburg was diagnosed with the infection.

The employee worked at the restaurant on January 17, 18 and 22. Customers who ate at the restaurant on those days may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

Vaccination can prevent hepatitis A only if given within 14 days of exposure. Because those who ate at the restaurant on January 17 and 18 would have been exposed more than 14 days ago, they should watch for any possible symptoms of hepatitis A and see their doctor if they become ill.

Those who ate at the restaurant on January 22 should get the hepatitis A vaccination if they have not been previously vaccinated.

“The risk of transmission of hepatitis A in this situation is likely very low. However, as a precaution, we recommend that anyone who ate food from this restaurant on January 22 should consider getting a hepatitis A vaccination if they have not done so already. And again, those who may have been exposed on January 17 and 18 should watch for any possible symptoms of hepatitis A and see their doctor if become ill,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.

Mississippi Huddle House tied to Hepatitis A worker

Customers who dined at a Laurel restaurant in late January may have been exposed to hepatitis A, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.

State health officials said an employee who worked at the Huddle House restaurant on Chantilly Street has been diagnosed with the infection.

MSDH officials said anyone who ate at the restaurant from Jan. 26 to Jan. 29 may have been exposed to the highly contagious liver disease and are encouraged to get a hepatitis A vaccination if they have not received one in the past.

“It is unlikely that hepatitis A was transmitted to any customers from this particular case, but as a precaution, we do recommend the hep A vaccine for anyone who ate at the Huddle House from January 26 through January 29 if they have not already been vaccinated,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “The management and staff of this restaurant are fully cooperating with our investigation in order to prevent illnesses as a result of this exposure.”

Free vaccinations will be available at the Jones County Health Department on Thursday, Feb. 6, and Friday, Feb. 7, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The health department is located at 5168 Old Highway 11 in Ellisville.

MSDH continues to monitor an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in Mississippi and surrounding states.

Old Mill Tavern Hepatitis A positive worker

The Florida Department of Health in Citrus County (DOH-Citrus) has identified a positive case of hepatitis A in a food service worker in Homosassa.

DOH-Citrus conducted an epidemiological investigation and today determined an individual who worked at Old Mill Tavern, located at 10465 W. Yulee Dr. in Homosassa, from January 19 through February 3 may have been infectious.

The hepatitis A vaccine may provide protection against the disease if given within two weeks after exposure. Therefore, the hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for anyone who ate or drank at this restaurant between January 24 through February 3. Those who consumed food or beverage between January 19 through January 23 should instead observe for signs and symptoms of hepatitis A infection. This includes sudden onset of abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, fever, diarrhea, pale white stools, or yellow skin and eyes (jaundice). Anyone experiencing these symptoms should promptly seek medical attention.

If you previously have received the hepatitis A vaccine or have had a past history of a Hepatitis A infection, you are considered immune to the Hepatitis A virus and do not need to take additional action.

Those with specific questions about exposure to hepatitis A at Old Mill Tavern can call 352-527-0068 to reach DOH-Citrus.

DOH-Citrus is encouraging all health care providers, including hospital emergency departments to stay on high alert and immediately report cases of Hepatitis A to DOH-Citrus, as well as identify those who would benefit from vaccination.

Contact your county’s health department for hepatitis A vaccinations if you live outside Citrus County. Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A.

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