Food manufacturers, vendors, and retailers are required to take certain health and safety precautions when preparing food products. Unfortunately, many fail to abide by these rules, a decision that can have serious consequences for unknowing consumers. For instance, consumers who ingest contaminated food or water could contract Hepatitis A, a dangerous communicable disease that afflicts the liver and is caused by the Hepatitis A virus. If you recently contracted Hepatitis A, or another foodborne illness, you may be able to collect compensation for your medical bills from the negligent party who sold or prepared your food. For help filing your own claim, please call a personal injury lawyer who has the experience and resources to assist you.
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a disease that causes the liver to become inflamed and is contracted by coming into contact with something that has been contaminated by the Hepatitis A virus. In most cases, the disease is spread by:
- Eating food prepared by someone who was infected and did not wash their hands after using the restroom;
- Drinking untreated water or eating food that has been washed with untreated water; and
- Having close contact with an infected person.
Contamination of produce is one of the most common sources of infection and can happen at any point in the food preparation process, including growing, harvesting, shipping, and handling. However, contamination of food and water is much more likely to occur in countries with poor sanitary conditions, as chlorination that is used to kill the virus when it enters the water supply in the U.S. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration is tasked with monitoring natural bodies of water that are used for recreation for signs of contamination.
Although Hepatitis A does not result in chronic infection, it does come with painful symptoms, including:
- Loss of appetite;
- Stomach pain;
- Dark urine; and
- Joint pain.
In most cases, these symptoms resolve themselves within two months of infection, although some people could struggle with symptoms for up to six months. Fortunately, Hepatitis A can be prevented through vaccination, as well as good hygiene.
Treating Hepatitis A
In order to determine whether a person is suffering from Hepatitis A, doctors must take and test a patient’s blood sample. If contamination is confirmed and the patient in question is unvaccinated, he or she is often encouraged to get the vaccine or a shot of immune globulin, which is a substance made from plasma and contains antibodies that protect against infection.
This type of shot only provides short-term protection against the virus for up to two months, so many of those who travel to countries where Hepatitis A is common obtain these shots as a precaution. Doctors also recommend rest, fluids, and adequate nutrition to treat the symptoms of the disease. In some cases, it can take up to a few months before a person who has been infected with Hepatitis A will begin to feel normal.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you became infected with Hepatitis A after eating contaminated food or water, you could be eligible for compensation. Please contact one of the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. at 737-201-0543 to learn more about your legal options.