Mendham Golf & Tennis Club Hepatitis A Outbreak and Litigation - New Jersey (2019)
Food safety lawyers at Marler Clark represented three of the victims in this outbreak, including a customer who suffered acute liver failure and who required a transplant, achieving settlements covering medical expenses, wage loss, and pain and suffering. At this time, these cases have been successfully settled.
According to Spencer Kent of NJ.com, and The Morris County Office of Health Management 23 people contracted hepatitis A from a food handler at the Mendham Golf & Tennis Club between June 9 and June 30, 2019.
However, notifications to those who were exposed to the virus weren’t made until July 5. Officials said that the July notification was made roughly two days after first learning of the infected food handler.
“At that point, they notified,” said Larry Ragonese, spokesman at the Morris County Office of Health Management. Ragonese said the food handler had gone to a hospital, where tests turned up the rare and highly contagious virus.
The township said in a statement that the outbreak was contained to the club, which is members only.
The township also noted that other cases could develop until Aug. 19, 2019, which would be 50 days from when the food handler was last infectious (the incubation period for Hepatitis A is 15 to 50 days).
Officials said the club sent out a letter on July 5 advising all club members of the exposure and posted a notice at the club.
The notifications also advised members to “inform any guests who may have joined them to dine at the club,” according to the New Jersey Department of Health.
A recommendation was made for all those exposed and unvaccinated to receive treatment within two weeks from the last day the food handler was infectious and working at the club.
Hepatitis A, a disease of the liver caused by a virus, is primarily spread through close contact with a person or through the consumption of contaminated food.
“While individuals with hepatitis A may be quite ill, the risk of transmission is to those who had close contact to the case and patrons of the club who consumed food prepared by the ill worker,” the state Health Department said.