Header graphic for print
Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Chuy’s Mesquite Broiler Implicated in Hepatitis A Scare – Vaccine Shots to be Available After Shortage

According to the Kern Faculty Medical Group, they expect to have enough hepatitis A vaccine shots after supplies temporarily ran out Saturday. The medical group had given about 90 vaccine shots Saturday morning before supplies ran out, said Dr. Mansukh Ghadiya with the clinic.  Public health officials made arrangements with Kern Faculty Medical Group for people who needed the vaccine or other treatment after news a worker at Chuy’s Mesquite Broiler (not to be confused with the Chuy’s in Austin Texas which was famous for serving alcohol to one of the under-age Bush girls) was diagnosed with hepatitis A was released last week.  I bet Chuy’s wished they required Hepatitis A vaccines of all employees.

In that last several years we have represented health departments who pay for these shots, the people who stand in line waiting to get them and those unfortunate enough to not get the shots in time. Restaurants have included, Houlihan’s, Carl’s Jr., Chi-Chi’s, D’Angelo’s, Friendly’s, Maple Lawn Dairy, McDonald’s, Quizno’s, Silver Grill Location Catering, Subway and Taco Bell.

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 virus is 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.