Major Health Risks Associated with Hepatitis A


Hepatitis A Web site is resource for people looking for additional information

SEATTLE – The East Tennessee Regional Health Department announced Wednesday that it was investigating five confirmed and three suspected cases of hepatitis A in Campbell County. Three people are hospitalized with acute hepatitis A infections.

“When a family member becomes ill with hepatitis A, people want to know all they can about what is making that person sick. Our site about Hepatitis A provides some of the most comprehensive information on the Web about this serious liver infection,” said William Marler, a Seattle attorney who has dedicated his practice to representing victims of foodborne illness outbreaks.

Hepatitis A is a virus that primarily infects the liver. Symptoms of infection may not appear for 15-50 days after exposure to the virus. They include muscle aches, headache, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, fever, and malaise. After a few days of initial symptoms, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) sets in. In rare cases, the hepatitis A virus causes liver failure and impairs the infected person’s cognitive functioning. The CDC estimates that at least 100 people die each year after suffering from hepatitis A-induced liver failure.

“Most people have heard of hepatitis A, but until someone they know falls victim during an outbreak, they don’t realize how serious hepatitis A infection can be. An acute hepatitis A infection can alter someone’s life significantly,” Marler added. “Ideally, outbreaks would be prevented by vaccination against hepatitis A, but until prevention measures are widely used, we’ll continue to see hepatitis A outbreaks across the nation.”

Marler has represented hundreds of victims of hepatitis A outbreaks, including over 75 victims of a 2003 hepatitis A outbreak in Pennsylvania that was traced to contaminated green onions, and 29 people who were infected with hepatitis A after being exposed at a Seattle Subway sandwich shop.

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BACKGROUND: Marler Clark (http://www.marlerclark.com) has extensive experience representing victims of outbreaks traced to communicable diseases such as hepatitis A, E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. The firm has represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness outbreaks since 1993, when Mr. Marler represented Brianne Kiner in her $15.6 million E. coli settlement with Jack in the Box.

For information on hepatitis A-related litigation, visit the Marler Clark-sponsored Web site www.hepatitislitigation.com, and for hepatitis A-related news to www.hepatitisblog.com.