Hepatitis victims outraged at pub

  • 2008-07-23
  • By TBT staff

NOT SO STELLA: Hepatitis victims are considering suing the once popular bar.

RIGA - Victims of a pub that infected dozens of people with hepatitis A earlier this year have expressed their outrage at the bar's meager offers of compensation. "We are currently weighing our options, whether or not to appear in court," Eduards, a client who fell ill after eating at Stella Pub, told Neatkariga Rita Avize.

Stella Pub, a popular chain of sports themed restaurant/bars, infected a total of 41 people with hepatitis A in April. One of the restaurant's former chefs who had come down with the disease passed it on to customers through contaminated food. "I ate with my friends at Stella Pub and we were basically poisoned. We saw on television later that the owner, Nauris Graveris, urged those who got sick to come together and come to some sort of solution about the problem," Eduards said. "The discussion happened on May 13. I took with me my receipt for the lunch and the doctor's note, which the owner copied, and promised to call us within a month. No one called," he said.

Graveris reportedly failed to answer the phone after Eduards repeatedly tried to get in touch with him, ultimately delaying the issue until after the midsummer holidays. Graveris finally offered the victim a 1,000-lat (1,423 euro) gift card to the restaurant 's compensation that was reportedly offered to the other victims as well. Eduards said that instead of more food from the restaurant, he had wanted the pub to cover his medical bills. Graveris refused to comment on the issue, saying only that "discussions [with the victims] are ongoing." Hepatitis A, also known as HAV, is an infectious liver disease.

The virus is normally spread through fecal-oral contact and is most commonly contracted from contaminated food and drink. A highly successful vaccine has almost completely eliminated the disease in the developed world, while infection in some undeveloped regions is still nearly 100 percent. The virus has an incubation period of two to six weeks. It is very rarely fatal.