A Hepatitis A Outbreak is Causing Illness and Fatalities in Michigan

Since August 1, 2016, close to 500 cases of Hepatitis A were reported in Southeast Michigan. Among these cases, 19 resulted in the victim’s death.

Hepatitis A is a type of food poisoning that can be spread through contaminated food or water or contact with an individual infected by the virus. Like other types of food poisoning, Hepatitis A can have serious side effects and become dangerous for a patient if he or she does not receive prompt medical care for the condition.

How is Hepatitis A Spread?

Hepatitis A can be spread in many different ways. One of these is contaminated food or water. A few specific sources of Hepatitis A include:

  • Shellfish from water where the virus was present;
  • Produce that was not washed after being handled by an individual contaminated with Hepatitis A; and
  • Ice made from contaminated water.

Hepatitis A can also be spread through close contact, sexual or otherwise, between an infected and non-infected individual.

In the cases detailed above from Michigan, Hepatitis A was spread to restaurant patrons from food servers. These restaurants included a Little Caesar’s Pizza and Firewater Bar and Grill in Detroit.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A symptoms include:

  • Jaundice;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Chills;
  • Fever;
  • Loss of appetite; and
  • Fatigue.

Generally, symptoms appear 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus, which can make it difficult to trace the cause of an individual’s condition. Reviewing past cases can give clues about when and where an individual could have come into contact with Hepatitis A. An infected individual can even spread the virus to others before he or she experiences its symptoms.

Treating Hepatitis A

An individual can get a Hepatitis A vaccine to protect him- or herself from falling ill after coming into contact with the harmful virus. Because Hepatitis A is a viral infection, rather than a bacterial infection, it cannot be treated with antibiotics.

In many cases, Hepatitis A resolves itself within a month or two through rest, abstaining from alcohol consumption, and keeping oneself properly hydrated. A Hepatitis A infection can harm the liver, which can be exacerbated by alcohol consumption. This does not mean that an individual experiencing Hepatitis A symptoms should not visit a doctor regarding those symptoms – a doctor can diagnose the condition and oversee a patient’s self-treatment.

Work with an Experienced Chicago Food Poisoning Lawyer

If you experienced financial damages because of a bout of Hepatitis A or another type of food poisoning that could have been prevented through greater care on the part of a party who served or sold food to you, you could have grounds to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your damages. To learn more, schedule your initial legal consultation with our team of food poisoning lawyers at Newland & Newland, LLP today. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.

(image courtesy of Alex Jones)

  • Newland & Newland LLP, Attorneys, Arlington Heights, IL
  • Lawyer.com