The Illinois Health Department has released its investigation into this summer’s hepatitis A outbreak. It concluded the source of most of cases was food eaten at the Milan McDonald’s.  A state investigation has concluded most of the cases originated at the Milan McDonald’s and most of the cases *would have been prevented* if only that one employee had properly washed hands.

The findings of the investigation by the Illinois Department of Public Health concludes "the index case was a food handler at the McDonalds in Milan, Illinois and had onset of illness June 11." Investigators also found "other possible sources in the community were ruled out."  And, "The source of the outbreak for the majority of outbreak cases was food eaten at the McDonalds, Milan, Illinois where a food handler worked while infectious and handled foods that were not later cooked."

The state investigation goes on to say that "if the first employee with hepatitis A had used proper hand-washing technique while working the transmission of hepatitis A through food would not have occurred."

And, "proper hand-washing by the index case would have prevented the majority of the cases in the community. Reporting of the index case by designated reporters before June 25 would have.. reduced the number of cases in the community."

The first case of hepatitis A in the Quad city area was discovered last June. As we first reported back then, the first confirmed case of the liver illness was an employee at the Milan McDonald’s. Over the next two months, a total of 34 confirmed hepatitis A cases were reported.