Hep A vaccine.jpgPerhaps the answer to that question is yes. Hepatitis A is one of five human hepatitis viruses (hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E) that primarily infect the liver and cause illness. An estimated 80,000 cases occur each year in the U.S., although much higher estimates have been proposed based on mathematical modeling of the past incidence of infection. Each year, an estimated 100 persons die as a result of acute liver failure in the U.S. due to hepatitis A, but the rate of infection has dramatically decreased since the hepatitis A vaccine was licensed and became available in the U.S. in 1995.

Hepatitis A is a communicable (or contagious) disease that spreads from person-to-person. It is spread almost exclusively through fecal-oral contact, generally from person-to-person, or via contaminated food or water. Food contaminated with the virus is the most common vehicle transmitting hepatitis A. The food preparer or cook is the individual most often contaminating the food, although he or she is generally not ill at the time of food preparation. The peak time of infectivity, when the most viruses are present in the stool of an infectious individual, is during the two weeks before illness begins.

Although only a small percentage of hepatitis A infections are associated with foodborne transmission, foodborne outbreaks have been increasingly implicated as a significant source of hepatitis A infection. Some of the Hepatitis A Exposures and Outbreaks in which the Marler Clark law firm has represented clients include:

 

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Photo of Claire Mitchell Claire Mitchell

Claire received her J.D. degree from Hofstra University School of Law with a concentration in Energy and the Environment in May 2010. She received her B.A., majoring in English, from Villanova University, magna cum laude. During law school, Claire served as Articles Editor for the Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal, was elected President of the Legal Emergency Aid Project and elected Treasurer of Hofstra Law Women. She is currently pursuing an LL.M. degree in Food and Agricultural Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. In August 2010, Claire was selected as the recipient of the Marler Clark Graduate Assistantship, part of a new public/private partnership that will allow the University of Arkansas School of Law to partner with leaders in the food and agricultural legal communities. Although she began the LL.M. Program in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Claire is now living in Seattle in order to devote more time to her work at Marler Clark and is completing her LL.M. degree through distance learning. In addition to her academic and professional commitments, Claire blogs on Food Poison Journal and has been published in the Food and Drug Law Institute’s Update and the American Agricultural Law Association’s Update.