Hepatitis A is totally and completely preventable.

Each year, approximately 30,000 to 50,000 cases of hepatitis A occur in the United States.  And, yes, that includes Hawaii where a mystery 74 person hepatitis A outbreak is occurring.  Two of those 74 individuals that separately work at a Taco Bell and a Baskin-Robbins have compounded to risk and fear of a continuing and spreading problem on Oahu when they worked when unknowingly contagious.

UnknownhepaAlthough outbreaks continue to occur in the United States, no one should ever get infected if preventive measures are taken.  For example, food handlers must always wash their hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and certainly before preparing food. Food handlers should always wear gloves when handling or preparing ready-to-eat foods, although gloves are not a substitute for good hand washing. Ill food-handlers should be excluded from work.  In addition, in 2006, the ACIP recommended routine hepatitis A vaccination for all children ages 12-23 months, that hepatitis A vaccination be integrated into the routine childhood vaccination schedule, and that people not vaccinated by two years of age be vaccinated subsequently.

Estimates of the annual costs (direct and indirect) of hepatitis A in the United States have ranged from $300 million to $488.8 million in 1997 dollars.  Nationwide, adults who become ill miss an average of 27 work-days per illness, and 11-to-22 percent of those infected are hospitalized. Fulminant hepatitis A (Acute Liver Failure) is a rare but devastating complication of HAV infection. As many as 50% of individuals with acute liver failure may die or require emergency liver transplantation. Elderly patients and patients with chronic liver disease are at higher risk for fulminant hepatitis A.

And, vaccines, gloves and handwashing does prevent litigation as well:

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.