Update: Kamehameha Schools’ Kapalama Campus sent a letter home to parents telling them an employee (not a food service worker) was hospitalized for Hepatitis A. This announcement follows similar announcements over ill food service workers at Baskin-Robbins, Chili’s, Costco Bakery, Hawaiian Airlines, Sushi Shiono, Taco Bell, Tamashiro Market, Papa John’s and New Lin Fong Bakery, as well as a Hawaii Department of Transportation employee also not involved in food service.
Numbers Continue to Grow: As of Wednesday, the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) has identified 33 new cases of Hepatitis A, bringing the total to 168.
All cases have been adults with 46 requiring hospitalization.
Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu.
Eight individuals now live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.
Onset of illness has ranged between June 12th to August 1st.
Source Still Elusive: “It’s hard to know how close we are. We have some leads. We’re now feeling more confident that we have direction with an investigation. We’re looking at certain products, distributors,” Park said. “We’re trying to get a better sense from that. We also recognize that as we continue to work on this and put effort in, we could get to a dead end.”
Park says the source may be a product, distributed widely by multiple distributors, that is brought in to Hawaii and commonly consumed on Oahu.
Officials say identifying the source of infection is a challenge due to the long incubation period of the disease — anywhere from 15 to 52 days. This makes it difficult for patients to accurately recall the foods consumed and locations visited during the period when infection could have taken place.
They say they’re certain it’s one particular food or drink item that’s responsible. If the outbreak continues to grow, then they can at least narrow the suspected cause as something that is not a fresh product.
Public Cooperation Needed: Here are some suggestions for the 168 (or more) sickened that I am sure HDOH officials are already using:
- Be cooperative – hepatitis A illnesses can last 2 – 6 months and victims are certainly not feeling their best, but their cooperation is vital.
- Thinking about what you ate or drank and where may well not be that productive – trying to recall what you ate or drank several weeks ago is difficult – I can hardly recall what I ate or drank a few days ago – however, try.
- Focus on where you have been eating and drinking in the 2 – 6 weeks prior to becoming ill – at home or out. Check your calendar, phone records and social media like Facebook and Twitter.
- Pull your credit and debit card purchases as well as any accounts you have at grocery stores or restaurants.
- As friends, co-workers or family what they might recall that you did over that same time.
- Keep in contact with HDOH. Its resources are stretched and it needs your support and assistance.
Health Department Asking Public for Help:
|As a part of the ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in our state, we are performing a survey of Hawaii residents to determine how frequently residents eat at restaurants and obtain food from grocery stores in our communities. This survey should take less than 5 minutes. Please limit survey responses to one survey per household/family. Mahalo for your help!|
Hepatitis A: 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, wo 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.