August 11, 2009: Did Local Hospital and Lab Mismanage Information In Hepatitis A Case?

rock island county sheriffThe Rock Island County Sheriff’s office has determined that a lapse in communication is most likely the cause for the delay in reporting a case of hepatitis A in a McDonald'srestaurant worker.  Trinity Regional Health System and Metropolitan Laboratory of Moline, IL were both sited as the parties who did not convey or were not aware of information regarding the confirmed case of hepatitis A.

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A timeline of the events that took place prior to the official date of notification are as follows.

  • A patient was treated and tested for hepatitis A at Trinity Medical Center-West Campus, Rock Island.
  • Metropolitan Lab confirmed that the patient tested positive for hepatitis A.  The lab did not fax or call the health department within 24-hours after the finding the positive results.  As reported by the Sheriff’s department, Metropolitan Lab did not have hepatitis A on its list of infectious diseases that must be reported within 24 hours.
  • An incorrect hepatitis notification form was mailed by the lab to the Rock Island Health Department (RICHD).  The form did not arrive until June 26th.
  • On July 10, 2009, RICHD officials learn of two Rock Island County and one Mercer County hepatitis A cases. None of the three are food handlers.  Fourth Mercer County hepatitis A case is reported that day.
  • The RICHD’s infectious disease nurse was on extended vacation so the information contained in the form was not reviewed until July 13th.
  • The RICHD nurse called Trinity about the first patient being hospitalized there.  Trinity’s Disease Control Center was not aware of the report that confirmed the case of hepatitis A.
  • RICHD conducts interview and determines that patient, confirmed for hepatitis infection on June 17, is an employee of the McDonald’s, located in Milan, Illinois.  Illinois State Health Department is notified. 
  • At least 26 McDonald's patrons are infected with hepatitis A virus.  More than 5,000 people are either immunized against hepatitis A virus or receive immune globulin shots as a result of the McDonald hepatitis A outbreak.

The county is currently asking all parties involved in this case pay for some of the $159,000 incurred for vaccination clinics.  The clinics were held on July 21st and 22nd to immunize more than 5,000 people who were believed to have been exposed to hepatitis A as a result of the McDonald's outbreak.


The clinics were necessary after  a food service worker employed by a McDonald’s restaurant in Milan, Illinois, was diagnosed with an acute case hepatitis A and was reported to have worked during his/her infectious period and handled food items that were not subsequently cooked.


Hepatitis A is a virus that can be carried on the hands of an infected person who does not wash his or her hands thoroughly after using the bathroom. Infection is also possible by direct contact with a person who does not practice good hygiene, or by consuming food or drink handled by an infected person.


Symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, poor appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and sometimes fever. Urine may become darker and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes) may occur. Symptoms can appear from 15 to 50 days after exposure. If you have these symptoms, contact your doctor or a medical professional.  However, persons infected with hepatitis A may exhibit no hepatitis A symptoms, yet they still have the potential to infect others with the hepatitis A virus.


The Law Firm of Eric H. Weinberg currently represents individuals sickened in fast food restaurant food poisoning outbreaks nationwide.  We are ready to help you.  Our lawfirm is currently assisting individuals who may have been sickened in the outbreak.  If you received a vaccination, have been diagnosed with hepatitis A, are awaiting medical confirmation of infection, or have a question regarding you legal rights, please click Free Legal Case Evaluation, or call us toll free at 1-877-934-6274.


To return to the homepage, see Hepatitis A Lawsuits.

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