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McDonald's Hepatitis A Victims Sue

Jul 28, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Hepatitis A Symptoms

The Lawsuit Alleges that after Eating at a McDonald’s in Milan, Dillon Mrasak

The family of a boy who allegedly contracted hepatitis A after eating at McDonald’s Corporation’s Milan, Illinois, establishment is suing the fast food giant for damages and “other relief,” reports Reuters.

The lawsuit alleges that after eating at a McDonald’s in Milan, Dillon Mrasak, 16, began exhibiting symptoms that included a “very high fever, aches, and fatigue,” said Reuters. The boy required hospitalization last month and tested positive for hepatitis A.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hepatitis A is an acute, contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The disease is transmitted by the ingestion of fecal matter or contaminated food or drinks or from close person-to-person contact. The ingestion can be, says the CDC, even in microscopic amounts. Such person-to-person contact can occur when, for instance, an infected person does not wash his or her hands properly after going to the bathroom and touches other objects or food, the CDC explained.

Hep A symptoms usually appear anywhere from two-to-six weeks after exposure and develop over a period of several days and can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, and jaundice. Hep A, while not chronic, can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months and, while most people recover with no long-lasting liver damage, people can feel sick for months. Hep A can cause liver failure and even death in people over the age of 50 or in those with other liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or C.

The Two McDonald’s restaurants in Milan were closed on July 15 by the Rock Island County

Personal injury attorneys in Illinois are working on a class action suit, said Justice News Flash that involves one man—Cody Patterson—and thousands of other potential plaintiffs. Patterson and the others all ate at McDonald’s eateries in Milan where an outbreak that involves 19 confirmed illnesses with 11 needing hospitalization or treatment occurred, said Justice News Flash.

Two McDonald’s food handlers are among those sickened, said Reuters, which noted that over 20 people have become sick in Illinois and Iowa. Citing press reports, Reuters reported that one of the workers who was ill on June 16, was later diagnosed with hepatitis A. It seems the worker did handle food while she was infectious, said Reuters.

The two McDonald’s restaurants in Milan were closed on July 15 by the Rock Island County Health Department. The restaurants were closed for health official inspection and cleaning, reported the Denver Post; both sites were reopened on July 18. According to Reuters, citing a McDonald’s spokeswoman, the outbreak’s source has not been confirmed.

Reuters noted that over 4,500 people have been vaccinated against hepatitis A and more than 10,000 people may have been exposed based on traffic information for the two establishments involved.

Justice News Flash pointed out that when patrons fall ill because a restaurant owner fails to maintain “a safe and healthy working environment, as required by state and federal health laws,” those patrons may be entitled to compensation for damages and injuries, including physician visits, hospital stays, medications, and lost income, to name some.

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