As of late April, there have been 751 reported cases of Hepatitis A in the Tampa Bay area, with some of the highest infection rates coming from Pinellas County, Pasco County, and Hillsborough County.
Last October, health department officials discovered that a server at Hamburger Mary’s in Hillsborough County tested positive for the virus. The county’s health department came across four more restaurants with servers who tested positive, but they covered up the outbreak and failed to alert the public of these other cases.
Recently, the outbreak has spread to more counties in the Tampa Bay area, including Pinellas County, where there have been over 200 new cases. A server at Hellas Restaurant and Bakery tested positive for Hepatitis A, but the public was initially not informed. Officials from the Pinellas County Health Department have not made any comments about their decision to keep the outbreak a secret. In Hernando County, the Grill at Silverhorn is under investigation, and officials advise that customers could have been exposed from April 12-30.
With more than 1,200 reported cases of Hepatitis A in the entire state of Florida since January of last year, officials have formally declared a health advisory for the infectious virus. Health department directors in Pinellas County, as well as the directors in some other counties, continue to remain tight-lipped about the situations in their jurisdictions.
A person can get Hepatitis A by ingesting food or drink that has been in contact with someone who is infected. Usually, the disease is transmitted by trace amounts of fecal matter in the food or drink; however, the virus can live on surfaces and it is extremely hard to kill without bleach and high temperatures. This means that you could potentially be exposed to Hepatitis A from an infected server who touches your plate of food.
Hepatitis A can be life-threatening, as it affects your liver’s ability to function. However, if you receive a vaccine within two weeks of exposure to the virus, it might protect you from infection.
The symptoms of Hepatitis A include:
If you or someone you know tested positive for Hepatitis A after eating at a contaminated restaurant, please reach out to Disparti Law Firm as soon as possible for a screening and consultation on your case. We may be able to help you take legal action and seek proper compensation.