Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is the only common foodborne disease preventable by vaccine. It is one of five hepatitis viruses that infect the liver. While hepatitis B and C can turn into chronic hepatitis, hepatitis A generally does not; although it can lead to liver failure and death.

Hepatitis A is rare in the United States, with 30,000 to 50,000 cases occurring each year. However, in most other countries, poorer sanitation systems lead to easier transmission of the disease, and therefore more cases.

Hepatitis A is a contagious disease. It travels in feces, and can spread from person to person, or can be contracted from food or water. In cases of contaminated food, it is usually the person preparing the food who contaminates it. The food handler will probably not know they have the virus, since the virus is most likely to be passed on in the first two weeks of illness, before a person begins to show symptoms.


Symptoms of hepatitis A usually appear around 28 days after infection, but can start as early as two weeks after catching the virus. Only 30 percent of children with the virus actually develop symptoms. Early symptoms of this hepatitis virus include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Fever
  • Weakness and fatigue

After a few days of experiencing these symptoms, 70 percent of patients develop jaundice, a yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Jaundice also causes dark urine and light, clay-colored feces.

Length of Symptoms

Symptoms usually last less than two months, although they sometimes last up to six months, and jaundice can linger for up to eight months. Patients can also experience severely itchy skin for a few months after symptoms first appear. Most patients fully recover.


An acute hepatitis A case can develop into Fulminant Hepatitis A. This is a rare but severe complication of Hepatitis A, in which the toxins from the hepatitis virus kill an abnormally high number of liver cells (around ¾ of the liver’s total cells), and the liver begins to die.  Fifty percent of patients with this condition require an immediate liver transplant to avoid death. Fulminant hepatitis A can also cause further complications, including muscular dysfunction and multiple organ failure.


Hepatitis symptoms can be extremely similar among all human forms of hepatitis. Therefore a blood test is needed to determine the specific hepatitis virus one has. The virus shows up in a person’s blood 10 to 12 days after a person is infected, at which point a doctor can draw a blood sample to determine which form of hepatitis a person has.


Hepatitis A is completely avoidable, since a hepatitis A vaccine exists to prevent it. However, since the vaccine only became recommended for all children in 2006, many people are not vaccinated. Hepatitis transmission is still possible, and prevention techniques are still important. Food handlers should always wash hands after using the bathroom or changing a diaper and before preparing food.

Prevention of Acute Hepatitis After Infection

After a person has been exposed to Hepatitis A, immune globulin (IG) is 80 to 90 percent effective in preventing clinical hepatitis when it is injected within two weeks of exposure.

Who should get the Hepatitis A Vaccine?

Starting in 2006, this hepatitis vaccine became recommended for all children ages 12-23 months. The vaccine is also recommended for the following groups of people:

  • Travelers to areas with higher rates of hepatitis A
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Drug users (both injecting and non-injecting)
  • Those with blood clotting disorders (e.g. hemophilia)
  • Those with chronic liver disease
  • Those who risk infection in the workplace (e.g. hospital or laboratory workers)
  • Children living in regions of the U.S. with increased rates of hepatitis A
  • Members of households with an adopted child arriving from a country with a high rate of Hepatitis A

Once the symptoms for hepatitis A appear, there is no direct treatment for the virus. Patients should rest according to how tired they feel, and should receive enough nutrition either by eating or through fluids, since the disease can cause a lack of appetite.

Treatment for Fulminant Hepatitis A

Treatment for this complication will vary depending on a person’s individual case. In cases of advanced liver failure, a liver transplant may be the only option available to avoid death.


About-Hepatitis.com is a comprehensive site with in-depth information about hepatitis A virus and hepatitis A infection.

Hepatitis Blog provides up-to-date news related to hepatitis A outbreaks, research, and more.

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.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.  We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, who required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.

If you or a family member became ill with a Hepatitis A infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Hepatitis A attorneys for a free case evaluation.

The Utah Department of Health reported that two restaurants are linked to an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in Utah County and other parts of the state since August.  This on top of a 7-11 earlier this month.

Anyone who ate, drank or used the restroom at Sonic Drive-In or Olive Garden in Spanish Fork on certain days in December may have been exposed to hepatitis A, health officials warn. An infected employee was working at those locations at the time, the department said. It warns that symptoms don’t show up immediately and it is important to get a vaccine as soon as possible.

Those at risk visited Sonic on North Main Street on Dec. 23 or 24, or Olive Garden on North Canyon Creek Parkway anytime from Dec. 21-30, the Utah County Health Department said in a prepared statement Tuesday evening.

The department is making vaccinations available to those who may have been exposed to the disease.

The health department encouraged businesses that serve food to vaccinate employees.

Since January 1, 2017, Utah public health has identified 152 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.

The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) is investigating two cases of hepatitis A in Kauai residents. Symptoms began from November 2017, and investigation is ongoing. The strain of the virus in both cases appears to be the same one currently circulating in California.

“As our investigators continue their work, we want to remind Hawaii residents that hepatitis A vaccination is highly effective in preventing infection,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist. “With large, multi-state outbreaks occurring across the country, it is important that we all take precautions to prevent hepatitis A infection whether at home, work, recreating, or traveling.”

California’s hepatitis A outbreak originated in San Diego and has spreadstatewide and to other states. Hawaii travelers to the mainland may become infected during their visit and can accidentally bring that infection home with them.

The virus is found in the stool of people with hepatitis A infection and is usually spread through close personal or sexual contact as well as by eating contaminated food or drinking water. A person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others within the same household. While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking food and using safe food handling practices can also help prevent infection.

Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes. Symptoms typically last several weeks to as long as two months. Persons should seek medical attention immediately should they develop symptoms.

The hepatitis A vaccine is included in routine childhood immunizations at age 1 and is recommended for adults who are at risk or want to protect themselves from hepatitis A. People are encouraged to complete the two-dose vaccine series to assure long-term immunity. Individuals who want to be vaccinated are encouraged to contact their health care provider.

The Department of Health said a case of Hepatitis A has been identified from a food handler that worked while potentially contagious at a Huddle House in Dexter, Missouri.

Members of the public who ate at the Dexter, Missouri, Huddle House between November 21, 2017, and December 2, 2017, should watch for symptoms of Hepatitis A.

The restaurant, county health, and health and senior services are investigating and said they are taking the necessary control measures to decrease the spread of illness.

Health officials say to seek medical care if symptoms develop. Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver.

Symptoms develop between two and seven weeks after exposure and can include:

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

Residents or providers who are concerned about a potential exposure can call the Stoddard County Health Center at 573-568-4593.

Anyone who ate at the Jet’s Pizza at 15235 East Seven Mile Road from Nov. 30 through Monday (Dec. 11) should get a vaccine before Dec. 21, Detroit Health Department officials said.

Generally, the risk of transmission of Hepatitis A from an infected employee is low. Hepatitis A can potentially be prevented if given a vaccination within two weeks of having come in contact with the virus. Given the low, but potential risk, the Detroit Health Department is recommending vaccination for people who may have eaten at the establishment during the exposure period.

The Detroit Health Department is conducting a thorough investigation of the establishment to ensure appropriate food handling and cleaning protocols are being followed. The employee stopped working at the establishment after symptoms began, and the Detroit Health Department has notified the establishment that the infected employee cannot return to work until approved by their doctor. The establishment has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, and the Detroit Health Department does not believe there is further risk of Hepatitis A at this location at this time.

The Detroit Health Department recommends all food establishments work to get their food handlers vaccinated. To support this effort, the Detroit Health Department is launching a mobile vaccination clinic program to provide easy and convenient access for Detroit food establishments to vaccinate their employees. The first mobile clinic will be held at the University of Detroit Mercy on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 from 10 am to 4 pm. Employees should bring their ID and health insurance card, and employers will be responsible for payment at $40 per employee. The Department will set up more clinics throughout the City of Detroit, where clusters of restaurants are located.

Restaurants can also call the Detroit Health Department to arrange for vaccination. For more information on the upcoming mobile vaccination clinic, restaurants should call 313-876-0135.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Symptoms can include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal, and sometimes yellow eyes or skin and dark urine. A person can get Hepatitis A when they eat, drink, or touch their mouth with food, liquid or objects (including their hands) that have come into contact with stool from an infected person. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.

The Detroit Health Department will be offering Hepatitis A vaccines to uninsured Detroit residents at both of its Immunization Clinics: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8am to 5pm and Wednesday 9am to 6pm. The clinics are located at:

The Samaritan Center (5555 Conner Street Detroit, MI 48213) 313-410-8142
The Family Place (8726 Woodward Avenue Detroit, MI 48202) 313-410-7803

The Detroit Health Department recommends that non-Detroit residents contact their local Health Department if they are uninsured and consumed food and beverages at the Jet’s Pizza at 15235 East Seven Mile Road near Hayes in Detroit during the exposure period. Information for the local health departments:

Macomb County (586) 469-5372
Oakland County (800)-848-5533
Wayne County (734) 727-7100

Southeast Michigan has seen an increase in Hepatitis A cases since 2016. High risk individuals identified in association with this outbreak include persons who: share injection and non-injection street drugs (including pain killers); have sexual activities with someone who has Hepatitis A; have close contact, care for, or live with someone who has Hepatitis A; are homeless or have transient living situations; or are men who have sex with men. To address the outbreak, the Detroit Health Department has facilitated dozens of community outreach clinics, provided over 2,600 vaccinations to those who could have been exposed, and is proactively educating medical clinics, hospitals and food establishments about the importance of prevention through vaccination and proper sanitizing protocols.

“We are excited to announce that the Detroit Health Department will be in the community providing vaccines to food handlers. We will continue to work with our state partners, physicians, hospitals, food establishments, and community groups to educate the community and prevent the outbreak from spreading further,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Director and Health Officer of the Detroit Health Department.

The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is through vaccination. Other means of preventing the spread of infection is to thoroughly wash hands with soap and water: after using the bathroom, after diaper changes, and before handling food.

Wayne County health officials report that a worker at the Token Lounge in Westland has been diagnosed with hepatitis A,

The club at 28949 Joy Road remains open for business, but people who drank beverages there between Nov. 20 and Dec. 4 are encouraged to watch for symptoms of the disease.

Hepatitis A has been sweeping across southeast Michigan since August 2016 in what public health officials said is one of the largest outbreaks to occur in the U.S. since a vaccine was widely introduced two decades ago.

Nearly 600 cases have been reported in the state. Twenty people have died.

The Token Lounge was inspected Dec. 13 and is working with health officials in their investigation, according to the Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness. The health department is offering vaccines to employees.

Hepatitis A attacks the liver and causes symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, clay-colored stool, fever, chills, and yellow skin and eyes (jaundice). Symptoms occur between 15 and 50 days after exposure and can last for several weeks to months. The disease can be fatal.

Officials say the best way to avoid the spread of hepatitis A is to get vaccinated. People should always wash their hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, as well as during food preparation and before eating food.

Additionally, people should avoid consuming under cooked or raw shellfish, and should not prepare food for others if they are sick.

County officials are encouraging all residents to get vaccinated. For people without insurance coverage, a vaccine is available at the Wayne County Health Department Clinic at 33030 Van Born Road in Wayne.

More information is available by visiting www.michigan.gov/hepatitisaoutbreak, or by calling Wayne County at 734-727-7078.

Michigan health officials say the southeast part of the state is seeing a serious outbreak of hepatitis A cases.

An analysis by the Detroit Free Press found that Michigan has led the U.S. in hepatitis cases per capita this year, with more than 500 reported cases so far.

The Detroit News reports that there have been 20 deaths linked with hepatitis A in southeast Michigan since August 2016.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hepatitis A is an extremely contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can be spread during sex or by eating contaminated food or water.

Health officials say the majority of cases involve drug users, homeless people and current or former inmates. The outbreak has particularly affected Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties.

The Monroe News reports a case of hepatitis A has been confirmed in Monroe County. According to the paper, the employee works at the Tim Hortons at 404 S. Monroe St. The health department says anyone who ate or drank at the restaurant between Nov. 21 and Dec. 8 may have been exposed and should talk to a doctor. Anyone who may have been exposed may need a hepatitis A vaccination or immune globulin treatment.

Michigan health officials are urging customers who consumed food or beverages at two Detroit-area pizzerias to get vaccinated against hepatitis A after workers there tested positive for the liver disease.

The Detroit Health Department said Tuesday it’s investigating a case at Paul’s Pizza on West Vernor in Detroit and urges vaccinations by Friday for anyone who dined at the restaurant between Nov. 20 and Nov. 25.

Also, Oakland County’s Health Division said it has confirmed a case at Papa Romano’s pizzeria on Nine Mile at Telegraph Road in Southfield and urge vaccinations by before Sunday for anyone who dined there between Nov. 22 and Nov. 26.

The two cases are the latest in a hepatitis A outbreak in Michigan. State health officials confirm more than 550 cases, including 20 deaths, since Aug. 1, 2016.

A worker at Andy’s Pizza, 13280 North Line Road, in Southgate was confirmed to have Hepatitis A while working at the restaurant between Nov. 3 and 17.

The Wayne County Department of Health, Veteran and Community Wellness confirmed Dec. 1.

Once the illness was confirmed the employee was removed from the restaurant, and it was thoroughly cleaned.

“We have been working side-by-side with the health department and have been cleared to stay open after inspections and the staff receiving the vaccine, as a precautionary measure,” owners posted on the store’s Facebook page. “We would not be allowed to operate under Wayne County health department laws if there was a possible risk of contaminating the public. The person who had the virus that work for us as of 2 weeks ago is no longer working in the establishment and contracted the virus from outside of Andy’s. The employee was put into immediate isolation. We apologize for any Inconvenience or the lack of confidence in any of our customers faith in our operation.”

Wayne County officials are urging anyone who ate at the restaurant during that time to watch for abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, clay-colored stool, fever, chills, yellow skin and eyes, all of which are symptoms of the illness. Symptoms typically show up between 15 and 50 days of contact.

Hepatitis A can be fatal.

County officials said all residents should get vacinated if it is medically feasible for them.

For those without insurance coverage, the vaccine is available at the Wayne County Health Department Clinic, located at 33030 Van Born Rd. in Wayne, Michigan.

To find out more information about hepatitis A, visit www.michigan.gov/hepatitisaoutbreak or call Wayne County at 734-727-7078.

A Greektown Casino employee has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A, the Detroit Health Department said Thursday, just two days after it announced a separate case in Detroit.

The department said it believes there is no suspected risk for casino patrons other than those who consumed food or beverages in the private Platinum member card access area between Nov. 11 and Nov. 22.

According to a news release, Greektown Casino, located at 555 East Lafayette, is attempting to those patrons to urge them to obtain a vaccination.

As of Thursday, only one Greektown employee is known to have Hepatitis A.

The health department said the risk of transmission of Hepatitis A from an employee is usually low.  Hepatitis A can potentially be prevented if given a vaccination within two weeks of having come in with the virus. Given the low, but potential risk, the Detroit Health Department is recommending vaccination for people who may have eaten in the private Platinum member card access area during the exposure period.

The Detroit Health Department has also notified the casino that the affected employee cannot return to work until cleared by their doctor.

“We are diligently working with our state partners, physicians, hospitals, food establishments, and community groups to educate the community, limit any potential exposures, and vaccinate those who are at risk,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Director and Health Officer of the Detroit Health Department.

Greektown CEO Jason Gregorec said in a statement that the safety of the casino’s guest and employees is of the “utmost importance.”

“It is significant to note that while no one else has reported any illness, we are taking all precautions to make certain that the incident remains isolated,” Gregorec said.

The news comes two days after a Detroit resident who works as a crew member at a McDonald’s on West Grand Boulevard was diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

The Detroit Health Department issued a news release saying it is conducting a thorough investigation at the McDonald’s, which is located at 2889 West Grand Blvd., to ensure appropriate food handing and cleaning protocols are being followed.