How a Food Poisoning Attorney Can Help
You may have been served shellfish or seafood cultivated in contaminated water. You may receive a beverage with ice made from dirty water. You could also eat food that was not properly stored, prepared, or cooked. Any of these issues can get you sick, and all of them can be prevented by food suppliers adhering to U.S. health and food safety regulations.
If you or a relative contracted Hepatitis A, OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers will help you by performing an independent and thorough investigation into your infection. We will also look into whether other Hepatitis A infections have been reported in the area. Your case may be part of a local, regional, or national outbreak.
If your infection is linked to a particular business, and you suffered serious harm, we may recommend filing a lawsuit and pursuing compensation. We may find evidence to support a claim of negligence. Or, we may present a product liability claim based on strict liability or a breach of an implied or explicit warranty.
Whatever theory of liability we recommend, we will help you pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries, including:
Various individuals or businesses can be responsible for a Hepatitis A infection. Our independent investigation, as well as information obtained from local health departments or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), can identify where the contaminated food, water, or other beverage originated.
The liable party could be a:
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious disease affecting liver function, caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The virus causes inflammation in the liver, which can impair its ability to function fully and efficiently. In most cases, HAV is transmitted due to infected fecal matter being ingested via contaminated food or water.
Hepatitis A is a self-limited disease. It is not a chronic infection like other types of hepatitis infections. If you are infected by Hepatitis A, you can experience fatigue, stomach pain, loss of appetite, jaundice, and other symptoms.
Hepatitis A differs from Hepatitis B or C. These are all viral infections and have similar symptoms, but they are transmitted and affect the liver differently. Hepatitis B and C are also both acute infections and can result in chronic disease.
Most Hepatitis A infections clear up within two months, and healthy individuals may not require medical treatment. However, Hepatitis A can lead to more serious symptoms, especially in people with compromised immune systems, that persist for longer periods or require hospitalization.
The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is through vaccination. Authorities recommend children under one year old, people experiencing homelessness or housing instability, persons with an increased risk of infection, persons at risk for complications from Hepatitis A, and anyone who wishes to be immune should be vaccinated.
Once HAV infects a person, the antibodies the body produces in response to the infection protect against reinfection for life.
Hepatitis A is typically contracted through eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water or other beverages. Contamination can arise due to poor cultivation, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, and preparation.
Hepatitis A can also be transmitted from person to person through close contact, like touching someone who has not washed their hands after using the restroom, or through sexual activity.
Some individuals are more at risk for contracting Hepatitis A than others:
If you have been exposed to Hepatitis A, then you can seek postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent an infection. PEP for Hepatitis A is an injection of the vaccine or immune globulin within two weeks of exposure.
Hepatitis A’s incubation is 14 to 28 days, and even then, small children and some adults will not develop any symptoms.
For those who do show signs of infection, common symptoms include:
In a majority of cases, Hepatitis A symptoms are mild and dissipate after a few weeks. Though some individuals experience severe symptoms for months and may require hospitalization and medical care to prevent serious injury.
Hepatitis A can cause the liver to stop functioning suddenly. This usually occurs in older individuals or those with chronic liver diseases. Acute liver failure requires hospitalization for treatment and monitoring. Hepatitis A can also lead to someone needing a liver transplant, and can even be fatal.
If you or a loved one have suffered severe Hepatitis A symptoms that required medical treatment and time away from work, you should talk with a Hepatitis A lawyer about your legal rights and options.
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Anyone suffering symptoms associated with Hepatitis A should see a physician right away. Laboratory blood tests can be used to look for viral hepatitis and HAV-specific Immunoglobulin G (IgM) antibodies. Physicians can also request laboratory tests to look for Hepatitis A virus in RNA.
If you are suffering or have suffered severe complications that required hospitalization, it is important to have diagnostic tests to confirm the type of viral or bacterial infection. This confirmation can support a legal claim against the party responsible for serving a contaminated food or beverage.
There are no specific treatments for Hepatitis A. Most healthy children and adults’ bodies will clear themselves of the virus. Most will be free from the virus within six months without any lasting injury. The Mayo Clinic recommends rest to manage the fatigue, eating small portions of high-calorie foods to control nausea, drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, and avoiding alcohol and unnecessary medications.
If the symptoms are severe, hospitalization may be required for IV fluids and medications to reduce nausea and vomiting. When a person’s liver function is impaired, physicians may also prescribe medications and treatments to reduce inflammation, improve function, and reduce the likelihood of liver failure.
Hepatitis A is not common, and infection rates have steadily declined for years after the vaccine became available in 1995. However, there have been several outbreaks in recent years. Since 2016, 25 states have publicly reported 22,028 cases, 12,002 hospitalizations, and 216 deaths, according to the CDC.
In 2019, current Hepatitis A outbreaks include:
Many of the past Hepatitis A outbreaks have been linked to contaminated food. In 2016, frozen strawberries imported from the International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing in Egypt were the likely source of a multi-state outbreak. This outbreak involved 143 people from Arkansas, California, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Fifty-six people were hospitalized, but no deaths were reported.
Also in 2016, Hawaii had a significant Hepatitis A outbreak due to raw scallops served at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai.
Several federal agencies are involved in ensuring consumers have access to safe seafood. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration operates the National Shellfish Sanitation Program. This is a joint federal-state regulatory effort to ensure safe and quality seafood products are distributed to consumers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates country of origin labeling for seafood sold in retail stores. The U.S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service (NMFS) manages U.S. fishery resources and operates a voluntary inspection and grading program.
If your Hepatitis A infection was linked to contaminated shellfish or another food product, you should advise your local or state health department as well as the government agency that regulated food safety regarding that product. The FDA should be notified regarding contaminated shellfish, and the USDA should be notified regarding contaminated meat, dairy, or eggs.
Don’t wait until it is too late to discuss your rights after a Hepatitis A infection. You deserve to know the facts, who is responsible, and your options regarding compensation. With decades of experience in the food safety field and millions of dollars recovered, the OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers have the skill and resources to handle any Hepatitis case.
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