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Hepatitis Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Hepatitis News & Outbreaks

Red Robin Restaurant Hepatitis A Exposure Class Action lawsuit – Missouri (2014)

Springfield Missouri Health officials administered more than 5,000 doses of the hepatitis A vaccine.

On May 20, 2014, health department officials learned of a food service worker at the Red Robin restaurant who had tested positive for Hepatitis A. Individuals potentially exposed to the Hepatitis A virus dined at the restaurant between May 8 and 16.

Marler Clark filed a class action lawsuit against Red Robin restaurant.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of restaurant patrons who received hepatitis A vaccinations after alleged exposure to the hepatitis A virus at the restaurant between May 8 and 16, 2013.

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 Subway, McDonald’s, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.

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.

Hepatitis A Cluster in Alabama

The Alabama Department of Public Health is investigating three cases of hepatitis A in Clarke County in southwest Alabama.

The department says two of the cases involve people who have a history of international travel.

The health department says signs of hepatitis A appear 15 to 50 days after exposure and commonly include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and tiredness. The disease varies in severity from about two weeks to six weeks or more.

The department says casual contact, such as at an office or school, does not transmit the virus. The risk increases when people are in contact in a household or have sexual contact. The department says frequent hand washing with warm water and soap for 20 seconds will help stop the spread of the virus.

165 Sick with Hepatitis A Linked to Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend

165 people were confirmed to have become ill from hepatitis A after eating ‘Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend’ in 10 states: Arizona (24), California (80), Colorado (29), Hawaii (8), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (11), Nevada (6), Utah (3), and Wisconsin (2). [Note: The cases reported from Wisconsin resulted from exposure to the product in California, the cases reported from New Hampshire reported fruit exposure during travel to Nevada, and the case reported in New Jersey was a household contact of a confirmed case from Colorado.] Eight of the confirmed cases were household contacts of confirmed cases (secondary cases).

The major outbreak strain of hepatitis A virus, belonging to genotype 1B, was found in clinical specimens of 117 ill persons. This genotype is rarely seen in the Americas but circulates in North Africa and the Middle East.

By combining information gained from FDA’s traceback and traceforward investigations and the CDC’s epidemiological investigation, FDA and CDC have determined that the most likely vehicle for the hepatitis A virus appears to be a common shipment of pomegranate seeds from a company in Turkey, Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading.

Whataburger Linked to Hepatitis A Scare

Austin Texas health officials are alerting the public about possible hepatitis A exposure at a Whataburger in Central Austin. A restaurant employee there at the 2800 Guadalupe St. location has been diagnosed with the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that is usually spread when a person ingests something that has been contaminated with the feces of an infected person, including contaminated food or water.

Signs and symptoms of hepatitis A can include the following

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored bowel movement
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)

Signs and symptoms usually appear two- to four weeks after exposure, although they may happen up to two- to seven weeks after exposure. Children under 6 years of age with hepatitis A often do not have, or show few, signs and symptoms. Children, however, are least likely to get sick because they are typically immunized.

While health officials say transmission of the infection to customers is not likely, the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department is recommending people contact their doctor if they ate at that specific Whataburger between August 7 and Tuesday and fit the following criteria:

  • are 75 years old or older
  • are immune-compromised
  • have chronic liver disease or have had a liver transplant
  • have clotting-factor disorders
  • are experiencing hepatitis A symptoms

If you do not fall into these risk categories but are still worried or are needing more guidance, officials say you should visit your doctor or call the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department at 512-972-4372.

Signs and symptoms usually appear two- to four weeks after exposure, although they may happen up to two- to seven weeks after exposure. Children under 6 years of age with hepatitis A often do not have, or show few, signs and symptoms. Children, however, are least likely to get sick because they are typically immunized.

Another Reason for Hepatitis A Vaccines – Your Restaurant Remains Closed

Tortilla Marissa’s, a Mexican restaurant in Fort Collins, CO, will not reopen until August 9 because of the Hepatitis A scare that the restaurant faced at the end of June, according to the Coloradoan.

The Larimer County Health Department has advised the owners to keep the restaurant closed that long due to the virus’ relatively long incubation period, which averages 28 days but can last up to 50 days in some cases.

The restaurant originally closed on June 27, a day after an employee tested positive for the virus, which has a high risk of being spread when an infected person handles food. In total, the restaurant will be closed 43 days.

The only way the owners could legally open before that would be to hire an entirely new staff.

The county health department administered roughly 800 vaccines to restaurant patrons following the incident, but many did not opt to receive a vaccine. No other cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in connection to Tortilla Marissa’s.

The restaurant received an “inadequate” rating after an inspection in late May, a month before the incident. In two follow-up inspections, the restaurant earned “good” and “excellent” ratings.

The owners say that the closure time will allow them to address the remaining concerns presented by the inspections.

Another Hepatitis A Scare: Tortilla Marissa’s Restaurant Worker

The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment is advising the public about a possible exposure to hepatitis A virus at the Tortilla Marissa’s restaurant located at 2635 S. College Avenue in Fort Collins.

A food worker employed at Tortilla Marissa has tested positive for hepatitis A, a disease that might be passed to others through food directly handled by the employee before any symptoms appeared.  The restaurant is cooperating fully in the investigation and has agreed to voluntarily close until approved by the Department to reopen.  The risk of transmission to others occurred primarily in June 2014, but there is a very low risk that transmission might extend back to May of this year.  As of today, any customers have reported no secondary cases, but the disease has a long incubation period (time from infection to illness) of 14-50 days,

2300 Hepatitis A Vaccines Linked to Springfield Red Robin

KSPR’s Jeff Phillips reports that Springfield Health officials have now administered more than 2,300 doses of the hepatitis A vaccine. Clinics offered by Mercy Springfield and Cox Health Systems treated a total of 300 people Saturday. Each also ran clinics Sunday in the aftermath of an exposure at the Red Robin restaurant in Springfield this month.

On Monday, vaccinations will be available from noon to 4 at:

Mercy’s urgent care at the Smith Glynn Callaway building at 3231 S. National Avenue and Cox’s urgent care at the Turner Center at 1000 E. Primrose.

On Tuesday, the health department will administer vaccines from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the department’s Westside Public Health Center.

On May 20, health department officials learned of a food service worker at the local Red Robin restaurant who had tested positive for Hepatitis A. Individuals potentially exposed to the Hepatitis A virus dined at the restaurant between May 8 and 16.

Red Robin Hit with another Hepatitis A Problem

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department administered 2,011 vaccines during a two-day, no-cost clinic on May 22 and 23 to protect the public against a possible Hepatitis A exposure.

On May 20, health department officials learned of an individual who had tested positive for Hepatitis A. After learning that individual was a food service worker at the local Red Robin restaurant, department leadership decided to alert the public out of an abundance of caution.
Individuals potentially exposed to the Hepatitis A virus dined at the restaurant between May 8 and 16.

The department organized no-cost vaccination clinics Thursday, May 22 and Friday, May 23. There, 2,011 vaccines were given. There was also additional vaccine distributed to other local public health partners.

No-cost clinics will continue over the Memorial Day weekend through CoxHealth and Mercy Springfield.

  • Mercy’s vaccines will be available from noon to 4 p.m. May 24-26 at the Smith Glynn Callaway building’s urgent care at 3231 S. National Ave.
  • Cox’s vaccines will also be available from noon to 4 p.m. May 24-26 at the Turner Center’s urgent care at 1000 E. Primrose.

Starting Tuesday, individuals who still need vaccine can visit the Health Department’s Westside Public Health Center at 660 S. Scenic Ave. from 7:30 to 10 a.m.

 

Red Robin Reports Hepatitis A Worry

The Pocono Record reports that the Pennsylvania Department of Health is investigating a situation involving a Red Robin restaurant employee who was diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

“The Disease Prevention and Control Law prohibits us from providing further details as the investigation is ongoing at this time,” said Aimee Tysarczyk, press secretary/director of communications for the state Health Department.  “As the investigation continues and if any public health risks evolve, the department will provide additional information to ensure the safety and well-being of the public, as needed,” Tysarczyk said.

In a statement to the Pocono Record, Red Robin said:

“On May 5, 2014, Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group was informed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health that an employee at the Red Robin restaurant in Stroudsburg, Pa., had contracted Hepatitis A.  The employee has not been in the restaurant since April 27, 2014, and will not return to work until he has been granted medical clearance.”

At this time, the Pennsylvania Department of Health does not believe there is a risk to the general public; however, guests who visited the Stroudsburg Red Robin restaurant between April 16 – May 5 can contact the department at 1-877-PA-HEALTH with any questions or concerns.

Indianapolis Teavana Store Patrons at Hepatitis A Risk Urged to Get Vaccines

The Marion County Public Health Department announced that visitors to an Indianapolis business during three Saturdays in April may have been exposed to Hepatitis A.

Anyone who visited and drank tea prepared at the Teavana store, 8702 Keystone Crossing, on Saturdays, April 5, 12 and 19 should watch for signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A. The public is advised to watch for signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A and contact a health care provider immediately if any symptoms are present.

Marion County Public Health Department director Dr. Virginia A. Caine says Hepatitis A is caused by a virus that inflames the liver. Hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of Hepatitis A. Thorough hand washing after using the bathroom and before eating or preparing food can help lower the risk of getting the virus.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)

Not everyone infected by the virus will exhibit all of these symptoms. Some people, especially children, may have no symptoms at all. However, all infected persons can transmit the disease to others.

People who visited and drank tea prepared at the store on Saturday, April 5 and Saturday, April 12 are beyond the incubation period of the virus and should watch for signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A. Anyone who visited the store and drank tea on Saturday, April 19 is still within the incubation period and should receive vaccine or immune globulin to prevent the disease. Those age 40 and under should receive Hepatitis A vaccine, while people over the age of 40 should receive immune globulin.

The Marion County Public Health Department will offer vaccine or immune globulin free of charge for individuals who visited the store and drank tea on Saturday, April 19. They should call the health department’s immunization program at 317-221-2122 to find out which district health office they should visit to receive the vaccine or immune globulin free of charge.