Reemergence of Hepatitis A Since 2016: Often Linked to Imported Products
Prevalence and Incidence
Since 1996 when the hepatitis A vaccination became widely accepted, the incidence of the virus has declined dramatically. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one dose of single-antigen hepatitis A vaccine has been proven to control hepatitis A outbreaks and boasts of nearly 95% seroprotection in healthy individuals for up to 11 years. However, since 2016 there has been a reemergence of hepatitis A in the Untied States and abroad. Just since 2016, there have been over 25,000 reported cases, including a national hepatitis A outbreak linked to imported pomegranate seeds and a national hepatitis A outbreak linked to imported strawberries.
The prevalence of the virus continues to increase, hitting 30 states within the U.S. especially hard this year. The 30 states affected by the outbreak reported, as of September 20, a total of 26,013 confirmed cases, 15,643 hospitalizations (60%), and 262 deaths.
How it Spreads
Hepatitis A is a virus which infects your liver causing minor to severe inflammation. The inflammation of the liver can cause decreased function of your body’s blood filtering process for harmful chemicals, its storage of minerals and vitamins, and its metabolization of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Hepatitis A Virus can only be spread among humans and is usually done so via the fecal-oral route. This occurs most commonly, although not limited to, food and water contamination. This can happen when an infected person prepares food without washing their hands after using the restroom, when water is not treated properly, or when caring for or having sex with an infected person.
Those infected will not experience symptoms until 15-50 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, pale stools, and dark urine. In some cases, children under 6 years of age can be asymptomatic despite their infection.
High Risk Groups
Commonly at risk populations for contracting hepatitis A include:
If you or a loved one experience these symptoms it is important not only to seek medical attention but also to contact a trusted Hepatitis A lawyer as you may be entitled to compensation for your illness. Ron Simon and Associates Law Firm has already successfully represented over a dozen people affected by hepatitis A virus, including two of the largest hepatitis A outbreaks in recent years – outbreaks linked to Egyptian strawberries and Turkish pomegranate arils.