As of Thursday afternoon, there were 19 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A. 13 are in Rock Island County, and six more are being reported in Henry, Mercer, Warren and Woodford Counties.  John David reporter for WQAD has reported that: “Lunch customers coming to the Milan McDonalds on Thursday found the doors locked. Drive-up customers were being turned away. According to investigators, an outbreak of Hepatitis-A may be linked to employees or someone who ate there.”

“All of these illnesses and many others are completely preventable,” says attorney William Marler, Seattle Food Safety Advocate. “Americans have the choice of receiving the hepatitis A vaccine, which first became available in 1995 and is a series of two shots,” said Marler.

After the first does of hepatitis A vaccine, 94 to 100 percent of recipients are protected against hepatitis A infection; nearly all are protected after the second dose. In 2005, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended routine hepatitis A vaccination for all children ages 12-23 months. ACIP recommended that hepatitis A vaccination be integrated into the routine childhood vaccination schedule, and that children not vaccinated by two years of age be vaccinated subsequently.

In the last ten years Mr. Marler has been involved in a dozen Hepatitis A cases around the country. “Most, if not all could have been prevented if restaurant or field workers had received a Hepatitis A shot BEFORE serving the customer,” continued Marler.