On June 20, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) confirmed a Statewide Hepatitis A Community Outbreak and is encouraging people with known risk factors to get vaccinated. So far in 2018, there have been 79 cases of hepatitis A across the state, compared to five cases during the same time frame last year. There are no cases in Logan County at this time.
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver disease that usually spreads when a person ingests fecal matter – even in microscopic amounts – from contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by the stool of an infected person. Washing your hands with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before making food or drinks can help stop the spread of Hepatitis A. Hepatitis A also can spread from close personal contact with an infected person, such as through sex.
People at increased risk for hepatitis A include those with direct contact with individuals infected with the virus; travelers to countries where the virus is prevalent; men who have sex with men; people who use street drugs whether they are injected or not; people with blood clotting factor disorders; people with chronic liver disease; and household members and other close contacts of adopted children newly arrived from countries where hepatitis A is common.
“The best way to prevent hepatitis A among high-risk individuals is to get vaccinated,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Clint Koenig. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the hepatitis A vaccine for all children at age 1 and for at-risk individuals.” Symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, clay-colored stools and jaundice. People with hepatitis A can experience mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Outbreaks are occurring in several states across the U.S., including in neighboring states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and West Virginia.
Individuals who experience symptoms of hepatitis A should contact their healthcare provider.
The Logan County Health District is working to provide this important vaccine to those in the risk groups and any person wishing to obtain immunity. Talk to your Healthcare Provider about getting vaccinated. The LCHD will also offer Hepatitis A vaccine to adults who are uninsured and under insured while supplies last through our routine vaccine clinics. To register for a vaccine, call 937-651-6186.
Submitted by the Logan County Health District.