The Hawaii State Department of Health identified frozen scallops as the likely source of the ongoing Hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii that has sickened 168 people. The scallops were served raw at eleven different Genki Sushi locations on Oahu and Kauai, according to local news reports.
Foreign Frozen Scallops Served at Genki Sushi Sicken Hundreds
Genki Sushi imported the scallops from a foreign company named True World Foods. No other restaurants or companies imported scallops from the same outfit, helping health officials in their quest to identify the source of the outbreak.
It’s not surprising that the outbreak was linked to shellfish says Tom Frigge, a food safety expert with the Hawaii Restaurant Association. According to Frigge, shellfish serve as a natural harbor for Hepatitis A. The contaminated shellfish forced the closure of 11 Genki Sushi locations Monday.
Despite confirmation of the outbreak source, officials expect the current number of confirmed cases – 168 – to continue growing. This is in part due to the fact that individuals infected as many as five weeks ago may just now begin to show symptoms of the virus, which has a long incubation period. In addition, “secondary cases” have become a reality. Secondary cases occur when a person contaminated at Genki Sushi spreads the virus to someone else.
“Hawaii’s Hepatitis A outbreak will likely continue for some time, even after tonight’s closure of nearly a dozen restaurants,” a local news anchor summarized.
Genki Sushi Locations Continued to Serve Patrons After Receiving Order to Close
The Hawaii State Department of Health announced the link between the “imported frozen scallops served raw at Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai” and the Hepatitis A outbreak on Monday. At the same time, the Department ordered all Oahu and Kauai Genki Sushi Restaurants to close immediately.
Some of the 11 Genki Sushi locations, however, failed to follow instructions. One patron said that an employee went from table to table, telling diners to “Order up, we’re closing down.” Although the restaurant turned away additional customers, employees would not give a reason.
A full hour after media outlets were informed by the Department of Health of the link between Genki Sushi and the outbreak – and the orders issued to the restaurants to close down – reporters found diners still eating and being served in some of the locations shut down by the Department, local reports said.
10 of the restaurants affected are located on the island of Oahu; the remaining restaurant affected is on Kauai.
The Department of Health reported 168 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A as of the time that they isolated the source. Eight of those individuals live on Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and one person returned to the mainland.
46 of the cases required hospitalization due to their severity.
If you or a family member have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A and you would like to explore pursuing a legal claim, submit a free case evaluation form or call 1 (888) 335-4901 to get your free case evaluation from one of the experienced Hepatitis A attorney at Ron Simon & Associates.