Even though hepatitis A is a rare but highly contagious foodborne disease, there are approximately 50,000 cases occurring in the United States every year. Unlike other types of food poisonings, hepatitis A is preventable through vaccination. The harmful virus infects the liver and if not properly treated, can cause liver failure or death.
The virus travels in fecal matter and easily spreads between individuals or through direct contact with contaminated water or food. In some cases, improper or poor hygiene by food preparers can expose consumers to the deadly virus. Other times, food handlers with the contagious virus can spread the disease long before the initial symptom appears.
Hepatitis A Symptoms
The first symptoms and signs of hepatitis A virus usually appear approximately 4 weeks after the infection begins. However, noticeable symptoms can occur as early as 14 days after catching the serious virus. Only approximately one out of every three children with the contagious virus will ever develop symptoms. Some of the early symptoms and signs of hepatitis A virus include:
- Abdominal discomfort or pain
- Muscle ache
- Fatigue and weakness
- Loss of appetite
Within a few days after the appearance of noticeable symptoms, seven out of every 10 infected individuals develop jaundice, or a deep yellowing of the eyes, skin and mucous membranes. Additional noticeable symptoms of jaundice include light-clay colored feces and dark urine.
Overall, the symptoms of hepatitis A can last up to 60 days or longer. Serious cases last six months or longer and jaundice usually lingers 7 to 8 months or more. Most individuals suffering from hepatitis A symptoms also experience very itchy skin lasting for a few months.
Recovering from Hepatitis A
Most patients will recover fully. However, there can be significant complications of hepatitis A in severe cases, especially conditions that progress to fulminant hepatitis A, a severe rare complication of the virus. Fulminant hepatitis A involves toxins killing abnormally high numbers of liver cells, which can cause the patient to die without a liver transplant.
Because vaccinations for hepatitis A are available, nearly every case can be prevented. In addition, the disease can be avoided if food handlers practice proper hygiene when using the bathroom before preparing food.
Legal Ramifications When You Develop a Case of Hepatitis A
School cafeterias, public restaurants, nursing home facilities, hospitals, food preparers and food manufacturers are legally bound to provide safe food to consumers. When hepatitis A is traced to contaminated food prepared by infected food preparers or workers, every individual responsible can be held legally accountable.
Even if the hepatitis A case is not life threatening, every victim has the legal right to seek compensation. Many times the victim will hire a hepatitis A food poisoning attorney to handle their case. This is because the disease can cause a negative impact on the quality of their daily living. Treating the infection might require repeated visits to the doctor, hospital stays, liver transplant or other medical option to heal. Usually, the victim experiences a financial loss from medical bills, missed work and the inability to earn a living in the near or long-term future.
A Food Poisoning Law Firm With Experience Prosecuting Cases Involving Hepatitis A
If you suspect you, or a loved one, have developed a hepatitis A infection, it is crucial to obtain immediate medical attention. The doctor must perform all appropriate tests to make an accurate diagnosis of your condition. If you believe you acquired your infection by consuming contaminated foods or beverages caused by the negligence of others, you might be entitled to receive financial compensation. However, personal injury tort law involving food poisoning is complex and requires the skills of an experienced lawyer to help.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have experience in litigation against large food manufacturers, restaurants, nursing homes and others that expose consumers to foodborne illnesses. Our skilled legal team will track down the source of the contamination to prove your case for recompense. We fight aggressively on your behalf to ensure you receive the financial compensation you deserve.
We invite you to contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule your initial free consultation. We can assist you in filing a personal injury claim or a wrongful death lawsuit to hold those responsible for your food poisoning accountable for their neglect.