Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

The Kentucky DPH says a total of 31 cases of acute hepatitis A cases have been reported in Kentucky throughout 2017, which is about a 50 percent increase from the average number of cases per year in the state. The illness is serious, and the DPH says it can be life-threatening. It is often spread when people do not wash their hands properly or by eating uncooked or under-cooked food.

Jefferson County has had 19 confirmed cases, and most have happened since August. In addition to Jefferson and McCracken, cases have been reported in Jefferson, Shelby, Bullitt, Hardin, Henry, Anderson, Mason, Christian, Madison, Fayette, McCracken, Hopkins, and Leslie counties.

No deaths have been attributed to the outbreak, but the DPH says if you have symptoms, you are urged to contact your health care provider to be tested and treated if needed. Symptoms include jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), dark-colored urine, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever and gray stool.

Kids 1-18 recommended to get the hepatitis A vaccine, as well as adults who have increased risk factors or certain medical conditions. Otherwise, the best ways to keep from getting hepatitis A are to wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap, handle uncooked food properly and fully cook your food. The DPH says always wash your hands before eating or touching food and after using the toilet or changing a diaper. Use hand sanitizing gels and wipes if you don’t have access to soap and water.

According to various press reports, Angelo’s New York Style Pizza and Bistro, a Cartersville-based restaurant has come forward to address the controversy surrounding a foodborne illness outbreak that the Georgia Department of Public Health is investigating after the pizza joint catered food at an employee event last week at Toyo Tire.

Angelo’s New York Style Pizza and Bistro is speaking out through its attorney, John T. Mroczko, who issued a statement Tuesday in light of the two hospitalizations and dozens of people reporting illnesses over the last few days.

“Angelo and his family are heartbroken about the recent incident at Toyo Tire and offer their deepest sympathies and prayers to those who have been affected,” Mroczko said. “This community is their home and their customers are like family to them. As such, the safety of their customers and the quality of their food has always been their highest priority.”

While the Georgia Department of Public Health and Bartow County environmental health specialists have not identified the cause of the outbreak and all parties, the restaurant has voluntarily closed its doors to figure out the cause and “swiftly resolve the situation,” Mroczkos said.

The state department’s Northwest Health District said that while news and other social media outlets have indicated Salmonella as the cause of the illnesses, that detail has not been confirmed, as “conclusive” test results are not expected back until the week of Nov. 27.

Investigators are working with Toyo Tire’s human resources department to obtain more details about the outbreak from their employees. It was estimated on Monday that as many as 1,800 employees could have been affected by the outbreak. Cartersville Medical Center spokesperson Ginger Tyra said two people were hospitalized and more than 40 patients were treated in its emergency room for symptoms such as including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

For the second time in three months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning people who might have consumed contaminated raw milk and milk products to visit their doctor. People who bought and drank raw milk from a company called Udder Milk may have been infected with a rare but potentially serious germ called Brucella abortus RB51. While Brucella can cause anyone to become sick, women may suffer miscarriage and other pregnancy complications making it critical for pregnant women who may have consumed the raw milk from Udder Milk to seek medical care immediately.

In late September, a New Jersey woman became ill after drinking raw milk from the company. CDC confirmed her illness was Brucella RB51 in late October. Because Udder Milk has not provided information about the farms that supply their milk, it has not been possible to trace the source of the woman’s infection. CDC scientists have been collaborating with state health officials on the investigation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are working with state health and agriculture officials to trace the source of the contaminated raw milk and raw milk products.

Until more information is available about which farms may be supplying contaminated milk or until officials can test milk from the farms, CDC recommends that anyone who drank raw milk or consumed raw milk products from Udder Milk in the past six months visit their doctor for antibiotics to prevent illness. Information suggests that the company delivers milk in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

“Because health officials  have no direct way to let people know they may have drunk contaminated milk, everyone who consumed milk from Udder Milk in the past 6 months should receive antibiotics now to avoid having long-term health effects from the bacteria,” said William Bower, M.D., team lead for the CDC group that investigates brucellosis, the illness caused by RB51.

The New Jersey patient is the second known domestically acquired illness caused by Brucella RB51 in raw milk in the United States this year; the other was in Texas in July. The Texas and New Jersey incidents are not connected.

The locations of the farms supplying Udder Milk are not known. Neither are the places where the company sells and distributes raw milk and other products. Online information about Udder Milk points to members-only websites through which people purchase raw milk online and delivery sites that shift to avoid detection by public health officials. Selling and distributing raw milk and raw dairy products is illegal in New Jersey and selling it outside of the farm that produces it is illegal in New York. Farms that sell raw milk in New York also must have a permit to sell it.

People Who Drank Udder Milk Raw Milk Need Antibiotics

All people who consumed raw milk and raw milk products from Udder Milk should seek medical care and start antibiotics to prevent future chronic disease from RB51. The Brucella RB51 strain is resistant to some antibiotics that would normally be used to prevent or treat brucellosis. Therefore, people who consumed raw milk from Udder Milk should tell their doctor that they may have been exposed to this particular Brucella strain. Doctors can learn more about testing patients for RB51 and which antibiotics to prevent or cure infection at https://www.cdc.gov/brucellosis/clinicians/rb51-raw-milk.html.

People who have consumed the milk and other products made from Udder Milk raw milk should check themselves daily for fever for one month after they last drank the milk and watch for other brucellosis symptoms for six months. These symptoms include muscle pain, lasting fatigue, arthritis, depression, and swelling of the testicles. Untreated Brucella RB51 infection can result in long-term health problems like arthritis; heart problems; enlargement of the spleen or liver; and, in rare cases, nervous system problems like meningitis. RB51 can cause severe illness in people with weakened immune systems and miscarriages in pregnant women.

About Brucella

RB51 is a weakened strain of Brucella abortus bacteria used to vaccinate young female cattle. Intensive vaccination campaigns have nearly eradicated B. abortus, which can cause abortions in cattle. The bovine vaccine reduces the risk of people contracting brucellosis from infected cows. However, in rare cases, vaccinated cows can shed RB51 in their milk. The only way to avoid this potential exposure to RB51 is to drink pasteurized milk. The heat of pasteurization kills RB51, other types of Brucella, and a variety of other disease-causing bacteria.

Human brucellosis cases in the United States have fallen from about 3,000 per year in the 1950s to 100-150 –per year in recent years. Most cases of brucellosis in the U.S. are caused by strains other than B. abortus and occur in people who traveled to countries where Brucella is more common and drank contaminated milk or had contact with infected animals. Among cases who acquired brucellosis in the U.S., infections occur from contact with feral swine or, more rarely, dogs, or because of accidental exposures among lab workers testing samples from ill people.

More info on raw milk: www.realrawmilk.com

Since January 1, 2017, Utah public health has identified 84 confirmed cases of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection; many among persons who are homeless and/or using illicit drugs. Several cases have been linked by investigation and/or viral sequencing to a national outbreak of hepatitis A involving cases in California and Arizona. Hospitalization rates of less than 40% have been described in previous hepatitis A outbreaks; however, other jurisdictions associated with this outbreak are reporting case hospitalization rates approaching 70%. The high rate of hospitalization may be a result of cases having underlying illnesses (e.g., alcoholism), or a higher rate of hepatitis comorbidities (e.g., hepatitis B or C). In response to the outbreak, public health officials have been working to identify cases and contacts, provide education, and ensure opportunities for vaccination of close contacts to cases and vulnerable populations.

Hepatitis A is usually spread through having oral contact with items contaminated with hepatitis A, for example, through ingesting food or drinks contaminated by infected feces. Some people do not develop symptoms, even if infected. If symptoms occur, they usually appear anywhere from 2-6 weeks after exposure. Symptoms usually develop over a period of several days, and may include jaundice (the yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes), abdominal pain, nausea or diarrhea. Hepatitis A vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A infection. For more information on hepatitis A, click here.

Last updated 11/13/17

Outbreak-Associated Cases 75
Onset Date Range 5/8/2017 – 11/08/2017
Age Range 22 – 69 years    median age 40 years
Sex
Male 48 64.0%
Female 27 36.%
Health Jurisdictions
Salt Lake County 57 76.0%
Utah County 11 14.7%
Bear River   4   5.3%
Central   1   1.3%
Southwest Utah   2   2.7%
Hospitalization 44 58.7%
Deaths   0  0.0%
Risk Factors
Homelessness and Drug Use 36 48.0%
Drug Use 15 20.0%
Homelessness   6   8.0%
Epi-Linked 10 13.3%
Travel   2   2.7%
Unknown   6   8.0%
Incarcerated 17 22.7%

Public health officials and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are continuing to see an elevated number of hepatitis A cases in Southeast Michigan.

Since the beginning of the outbreak in August 2016, public health response has included increased healthcare awareness efforts, public notification and education, and outreach with vaccination clinics for high-risk populations.No common sources of food, beverages, or drugs have been identified as a potential source of infection. Transmission appears to be through direct person-to-person spread and illicit drug use. Those with history of injection and non-injection drug use, homelessness or transient housing, and incarceration are thought to be at greater risk in this outbreak setting. Notably, this outbreak has had a high hospitalization rate.

Southeast Michigan Hepatitis A Outbreak Cases and Deaths as of November 7, 2017*
*Table will be updated weekly by 4:00pm each Friday

Cases Hospitalizations Deaths
495 416 (84.0%) 19 (3.8%)

Please note: Table does not include all reported hepatitis A cases in the SE MI outbreak region; only those cases that are identified as outbreak-related. More descriptive data on the current outbreak can be found within the Comprehensive Summary.  Data are provisional and subject to change.

 Confirmed Cases Referred August 1, 2016-November 7, 2017
Meeting the SE MI Hepatitis A Outbreak Case Definition
 County (or city) Total Cases    County (or city) Total Cases
 Macomb 162    Sanilac 4
 City of Detroit 123    Lapeer 3
 Wayne 80    Calhoun 1
 Oakland 78    Clare 1
 St. Clair 17    Genesee 1
 Washtenaw 7    Hillsdale 1
 Monroe 6    Huron 1
 Ingham 4    Isabella 1
 Livingston 4    Other* 1
 *Michigan Department of Corrections

Hepatitis A is a serious, highly contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is found in the feces (poop) of people with hepatitis A. You can get hepatitis A by eating contaminated food or water, during sex, or just by living with an infected person. Illness can appear 15-50 days after exposure and you can be sick for several weeks. In some cases, people can die. Although not all people infected with hepatitis A experience illness, symptoms can include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • belly pain
  • feeling tired
  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • dark urine
  • pale-colored feces (poop)
  • joint pain

There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of Hepatitis A transmission. Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable illness. While the hepatitis A vaccine is recommended as a part of the routine childhood vaccination schedule, most adults have not been vaccinated and may be susceptible to the hepatitis A virus. The best way to reduce the risk of getting hepatitis A is to get vaccinated with two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine. It is also recommended to wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before preparing meals for yourself and others. Use your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils. Do not have sex with someone who has HAV infection or share food, drinks, or smokes with other people.

  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A
  • Wash hands after using the restroom and before eating or preparing meals for yourself or others
  • Use your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils
  • Do not have sex with someone who has HAV infection
  • Do not share food, drinks, drugs, or smokes with other people
  • If you think you may have hepatitis A, see your medical provider
  • If you have hepatitis A, please cooperate with your local public health to help protect others

Hepatitis A can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine. Stop the spread of this infection.

  • Persons who are homeless.
  • Persons who are incarcerated.
  • Persons who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs.
  • Persons who work with the high risk populations listed above.
  • Persons who have close contact, care for, or live with someone who has HAV.
  • Persons who have sexual activities with someone who has HAV.
  • Men who have sex with men.
  • Travelers to countries with high or medium rates of HAV.
  • Persons with chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.*
  • Persons with clotting factor disorders.
  • Any person who is concerned about HAV exposure and wants to be immune.

*Note: individuals with chronic liver disease (e.g., cirrhosis and hepatitis C) may not be at increased risk of getting HAV infections but are at increased risk of having poor outcomes if they are infected with HAV.

If you (or someone you know) do not have health insurance, you will likely qualify for free or low cost vaccines. Talk with your local health department to find out if you qualify.

 Detroit Health Department
Phone: 313-876-4000
 Oakland County Health Division
Phone: 1-800-848-5533 or
Email: noc@oakgov.com
 Huron County Health Department 
Phone: 989-269-9721
 St. Clair County Health Department
Phone: 810-987-5300
 Lapeer County Health Department 
Phone: 810-667-0448
 Sanilac County Health Department
Phone: 810-648-4098
 Livingston County Health Department 
Phone: 517-546-9850
 Washtenaw County Public Health
Phone: 734-544-6700
 Macomb County Health Department
Phone: 586-469-5372
 Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans & Community Wellness 
Phone: 734-727-7078
 Monroe County Health Department
Phone: 734-240-7800

For additional local health department information, contact the MDHHS Division of Immunization.
Phone: 517-335-8159


According to press reports, patrons at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club may have been exposed to hepatitis A as an outbreak linked to bartaco in Port Chester continues to spread.

A Sleepy Hollow Country Club employee was infected by one of the five people who were exposed to hepatitis A at bartaco, Westchester Health Department officials said today.

While the greatest risk is to those who ate or drank at Sleepy Hollow’s Grill Room, in an abundance of caution, the Health Department recommends preventive treatment for anyone who ate or drank at the club between Oct. 27 and Nov. 4.

The county is offering free preventative treatment today Friday from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the county clinic at 134 Court St. in White Plains.

The preventive treatment is only effective if given within two weeks of exposure, according to the Health Department, but people who ate or drank at the country club between Oct. 21 and Oct. 26 may also have been exposed to hepatitis A.

To register for a free preventative treatment in advance, go to www.health.ny.gov/gotoclinic/60 or call 211 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. for more information. Country club patrons with exposure also can be treated by their own health care provider.

Nationally-known food safety attorney Bill Marler calls for Bartaco to reimburse Westchester County for the hepatitis A vaccinations issued by county health officials over the past month. According to press reports, the vaccinations have cost the county between $75,000 and $210,000, which will end up coming out of taxpayer’s pockets.

“Hepatitis A is the only vaccine-preventable foodborne illness.  Bartaco should have offered hepatitis A vaccines to all of its employees and avoided this outbreak,” said Bill Marler. “Bartaco should now step up and reimburse the department of public health for the cost of vaccinating over 3,000 people.  Other companies in similar situations have paid for their error and relieved the taxpayers of the cost burden.”

Marler Clark has already filed a class action lawsuit against Bartaco, representing those who have received shots. The firm is working to recover costs for those who received shots privately.  Marler Clark has also been retained by some of those who actually contracted hepatitis A.  Those cases will be handled individually.

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.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.

Not  to be confused with the Seven Deadly Sins: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth, although, perhaps some of these outbreaks were sinful.  I had the honor to represent many of the ill and the families of those who died.

Jack-in-the- Box E. coli Outbreak – 1992 – 1993

708 ill, 171 hospitalized and 4 dead

An outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 was linked to the consumption of hamburgers from the Jack-in-the-Box Restaurant chain. Cases were reported from the states of Washington (602 cases/144 hospitalizations/3 deaths), Idaho (14 cases/4 hospitalizations/no deaths), California (34 cases/14 hospitalizations/1 death), and Nevada (58 cases/9 hospitalizations/no deaths). A case control study implicated the chain’s hamburgers resulting in a multistate recall of the remaining hamburgers. Only 20 percent of the product remained at the time of the recall; this amounted to 272,672 hamburger patties. Subsequent testing of the hamburger patties showed the presence of E. coli O157:H7. The strain of E. coli O157:H7 found in ill people matched the strain isolated from uncooked hamburger patties. The outbreak illustrated the potential for large, foodborne illness outbreaks associated with restaurant chains receiving shipments of contaminated food. At the time, many clinical laboratories in the United States were not routinely culturing patients’ stool for E. coli O157:H7 by using the correct culture medium. Additionally, many local and state health departments were not actively tracking and investigating E. coli O157:H7 cases.


Chi Chi’s Green Onion Hepatitis A Outbreak – 2003

565 ill, 130 hospitalized and 3 dead

Pennsylvania State health officials first learned of a hepatitis A outbreak when unusually high numbers of hepatitis A cases were reported in late October 2003. All but one of the initial cases had eaten at the Chi Chi’s restaurant at the Beaver Valley Mall, in Monaca, PA. Ultimately, at least 565 cases were confirmed. The victims included at least 13 employees of the Chi Chi’s restaurant, and residents of six other states. Three people died as a consequence of their hepatitis A illnesses. More than 9,000 people who had eaten at the restaurant, or who had been exposed to ill people, were given a post-exposure injection as a prevention against developing hepatitis A. Preliminary analysis of a case-control study indicated fresh, green onions were the probable source of this outbreak. The investigation and tracebacks by the state health department, the CDC, and the FDA, confirmed that the green onions had been grown in Mexico.


Dole Baby Spinach E. coli Outbreak – 2006

238 ill, 103 hospitalized and 5 dead

On Sept. 13, 2006, public health officials in Wisconsin, Oregon and New Mexico noted E. coli O157:H7 infections with matching pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns. These illnesses were associated with eating fresh, bagged spinach produced by Dole Brand Natural Selection Foods. By Sept. 26 that year, infections involving the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 had been reported from 26 states with one case in Canada. A voluntary recall was issued by the company on Sept. 15. E. coli O157: H7 was isolated from 13 packages of spinach supplied by patients in 10 states. Eleven of the packages had lot codes consistent with a single manufacturing facility on a particular day. The PFGE pattern of all tested packages matched the PFGE pattern of the outbreak strain. The spinach had been grown in three California counties – Monterey, San Benito and Santa Clara. E. coli O157:H7 was found in environmental samples collected near each of the four fields that provided spinach for the product, as designated by the lot code. However, E. coli O157:H7 isolates associated with only one of the four fields, located on the Paicines Ranch in San Benito County, had a PFGE pattern indistinguishable from the outbreak strain. The PFGE pattern was identified in river water, cattle feces and wild pig feces on the Paicines Ranch, the closest of which was less than one mile from the spinach field.


Peanut Corporation of America Salmonella Outbreak – 2008 – 2009

714 ill, 171 hospitalized and 9 dead

Beginning in November 2008, CDC’s PulseNet staff noted a small and highly dispersed, multistate cluster of Salmonella Typhimurium isolates. The outbreak consisted of two pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) defined clusters of illness. Illnesses continued to be revealed through April 2009, when the last CDC report on the outbreak was published. Peanut butter and products containing peanut butted produced at the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely, GA, were implicated. King Nut brand peanut butter was sold to institutional settings. Peanut paste was sold to many food companies for use as an ingredient. Implicated peanut products were sold widely throughout the USA, 23 countries and non-U.S. territories. Criminal sanctions were brought against the owners of PCA.


Jensen Farms Cantaloupe Listeria Outbreak – 2011

147 ill, 143 hospitalized and 33 dead

A multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes involving five distinct strains was associated with consumption of cantaloupe grown at Jensen Farms’ production fields near Granada, CO. A total of 147 ill people were reported to the CDC. Thirty-three people died, and one pregnant woman miscarried. Seven of the illnesses were related to pregnancy – three newborns and four pregnant women. Among 145 ill people with available information, 143 – 99 percent – were hospitalized. Source tracing of the cantaloupes indicated that they came from Jensen Farms, and were marketed as being from the Rocky Ford region. The cantaloupes were shipped from July 29 through Sept. 10, 2011, to at least 24 states, and possibly distributed elsewhere. Laboratory testing by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment identified Listeria monocytogenes bacteria on cantaloupes collected from grocery stores and from ill persons’ homes. Laboratory testing by FDA identified Listeria monocytogenes matching outbreak strains in samples from equipment and cantaloupe at the Jensen Farms’ packing facility in Granada, Colorado.  Criminal sanctions were brought against the two owners of Jensen Farms.


Bidart Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak

35 ill, 34 hospitalized and 7 deaths

On December 19, 2014, the CDC announced a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples. A total of 35 people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes were reported from 12 states. Of these, 34 were hospitalized. Listeriosis contributed to at least 3 of the 7 deaths reported. Eleven illnesses were pregnancy-related with one illness resulting in a fetal loss. here invasive illnesses were among otherwise healthy children aged 5-15 years. Twenty-eight (905) of the 31 ill persons interviewed reported eating commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before becoming ill. The Public Health Agency of Canada identified one case of listeriosis that was genetically related to the US outbreak. The investigation was assigned Cluster ID #1411MNGX6-1. On December 24, 2014, Happy Apples issued a voluntary recall of Happy Apple brand caramel apples with best use by date between August 25th and November 23rd, 2014 due to a connection between the apples and outbreak associated cases. California Snack Foods brand caramel apples issued a similar recall on December 27th. Both companies used apples supplied by Bidart Brothers. On December 29 Merb’s Candies recalled Bionic Apples and Double Dipped Apples. On January 6, 2105 Bidart Bros. of Bakersfield, California recalled Granny Smith and Gala apples because environmental testing revealed contamination with Listeria monocytogenes at the firm’s apple-packing facility. On January 8, 2015 FDA laboratory analyses using PFGE showed that environmental Listeria isolates from the Bidart Bros. facility were indistinguishable from the outbreak strains.


Andrew and Williamson Cucumber Salmonella Outbreak – 2015

907 ill, 204 hospitalized and 6 dead

On September 4, 2015 the CDC announced an outbreak of Salmonella Poona linked to consumption of cucumbers grown in Mexico and imported by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce. On March 18, 2016 the outbreak was declared to be over. A total of 907 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona were reported from 40 states. Among people for whom information was available, illnesses started on dates ranging from July 3, 2015 to February 29, 2016. Two hundred four ill people were hospitalized and six deaths were reported. Salmonella infection was not considered to be a contributing factor in two of the 6 deaths. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations identified imported cucumbers from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce as the likely source of the infections in this outbreak.

In Michigan, since August 2016, there have been 457 confirmed cases of hepatitis A – including 18 deaths. These have occurred in Huron, Ingham, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Sanilac, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties. Of the confirmed cases, 85 percent of patients were hospitalized. On October 30th, Little Caesars Pizza store and Firewater Bar and Grill employees were implicated.  Cardamom restaurant was implicated on October 5th.  And, now an expansion:

A case of Hepatitis A in a Grosse Pointe Woods restaurant worker has been confirmed, according to the Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness.

Wayne County HVCW was alerted by the management of Champs Rotisserie and Spirits located at 20515 Mack Ave.

The facility is working cooperatively with Wayne County Health to schedule an employee vaccine clinic.

The ill worker is not currently working and is receiving medical care.

People who consumed food from this establishment between Oct. 10-30 are advised to watch for symptoms of Hepatitis A, which can include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, clay colored stool, fever, chills, yellow skin and eyes.

Symptoms occur between 15 and 50 days after exposure and can last for several weeks to months.

Westchester, NY – A class action lawsuit was filed Monday in the County of Westchester New York Supreme Court against Barteca Restaurants, LLC, specifically the Bartaco Port Chester, LLC. Marler Clark, the Seattle Food Safety Law Firm, and Underberg & Kessler LLP, located in Rochester, NY, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the named plaintiff, Crystal Lopez, and all others who were forced to obtain a blood test, hepatitis A Vaccine and/or received Immune Globulin after being exposed to the hepatitis A virus at Bartaco.

The “shot class” includes all persons who were exposed to the hepatitis A virus as a direct result of either their consumption of food that was manufactured and sold by Bartaco, or their exposure to persons who were infected with the hepatitis A virus after consuming hepatitis A contaminated food at Bartaco.

On October 25, 2017, Health Officials announced that customers who had visited Bartaco between the dates of October 12th and 23rd had been exposed to the Hepatitis A virus. Health officials estimate that over 3,000 people, including the plaintiff obtained recommended Immune Globulin shots along with blood tests and other diagnostic procedures.

William “Bill” Marler is a nationally recognized personal injury lawyer and food safety advocate. He is the managing partner of Marler Clark, a Seattle, Washington, based law firm that specializes in foodborne illness cases.

“Everyone has a right to expect that the food they are served at a public restaurant is free on contaminants and is safe to eat,” said Paul Nunes of Underberg & Kessler LLP.

Paul V. Nunes is a senior partner at Underberg & Kessler LLP (Rochester and Buffalo, NY) who has been litigating food-borne illness cases with the Marler Clark office in New York State for over 15 years.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. The hepatitis A virus is commonly spread through contact with human stool. Symptoms include nausea, abdominal cramping, fatigue and fever. In young children these symptoms can appear flu-like, but in some cases, do not appear at all. Symptoms most often begin two to six weeks after exposure and can last several weeks. Preventative treatment is only effective when administered within 14 days of exposure to the virus. After 14 days there is no treatment.

If you would like to speak to Mr. Marler and get a copy of the complaint, please contact Lauren Fricke at lfricke@marlerclark.com or 1-206-346-1888.