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How Hepatitis A Outbreaks Occur at RestaurantsIf you follow the news, you will occasionally see reports about a hepatitis A outbreak at a restaurant. Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus that humans can spread when not using proper hygiene during food preparation. Large outbreaks are usually traced to restaurants because one infected person preparing food can transmit the virus to numerous customers. Hepatitis A is rarely life-threatening unless you are already in poor health. However, you may still deserve compensation from a restaurant that exposed you to hepatitis A to pay for your medical expenses and other losses.

What Is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is one form of the hepatitis virus, causing liver inflammation that can last for weeks or months. It is a fecal-oral disease, meaning that people are infected when the virus enters their mouth and can spread the virus through their feces. Symptoms can take two to seven weeks to appear and may include fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, joint pain, and jaundice. People are at the greatest risk of contracting hepatitis A if they:

  • Use drugs;
  • Have unprotected sex;
  • Travel to countries where hepatitis A is common; or
  • Live in a generally unsanitary environment.

Though you may not directly put yourself at risk of infection, you have no control over whether a person preparing your food is infected. A carrier can spread the virus while not showing any symptoms.

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Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Frozen Strawberries in Smoothies

Although certain types of food are linked with food poisoning outbreaks more frequently than others, nearly any type of food or consumable product can carry harmful bacteria that can cause victims to fall ill. One recent report from Food Safety News cites frozen strawberries as the culprit for the recent outbreak of Hepatitis A. As of September 8th, 2016, 89 people in seven states have suffered from symptoms of Hepatitis A after consuming smoothies made with frozen strawberries imported from Egypt. Reports came from West Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Virginia.

In most of these cases, the victim consumed a smoothie made by a restaurant or retailer, rather than purchasing the strawberries and making the smoothie at home. Multiple chains, including Tropical Smoothie Cafe, were cited as the sources of the contaminated smoothies.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A

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13 Ill, Five Hospitalized After Contracting Hepatitis A from Frozen Berries

A victim can fall ill from eating nearly any type of food. Generally, meats and dairy products are the culprit, especially when they have not been stored or prepared correctly. But vegetables, fruits, and grains can also harbor dangerous bacteria that can cause victims to suffer from various types of food poisoning.

One example is the recent outbreak of Hepatitis A in Canada. At least 13 people have developed Hepatitis A after consuming frozen bags of Nature's Touch Organic Berry Cherry blend from Costco stores. In response, Costco recalled the product from its stores in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec. Five had to be hospitalized because of the illness.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A

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