Ohio Health Department declares hepatitis A outbreak

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Health declared a statewide group outbreak of hepatitis A on Friday night.

The declaration adopted the reporting of 79 hepatitis A circumstances in Ohio to date this yr, nearly double the quantity reported in all of 2017, in keeping with a launch issued by the division.

A variety of the circumstances have been linked to outbreaks already reported in neighboring states, the division stated. They embody Indiana (138 circumstances), Kentucky (761 circumstances), Michigan (843 circumstances) and West Virginia (248 circumstances).

Cuyahoga County had 4 reported circumstances as of June 20, in keeping with the well being division. Summit County had one, and none had been reported different neighboring counties.

Montgomery County (Dayton) had 17 circumstances, essentially the most within the state, adopted by Lawrence, on the state’s southern tip (12 circumstances) and Lucas (Toledo) with 10.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver illness that normally spreads when an individual ingests fecal matter – even in microscopic quantities – from contact with objects, meals, or drinks contaminated by the stool of an contaminated particular person.

Hepatitis A can also unfold from shut private contact with an contaminated particular person, akin to via intercourse.

“Good hand-washing and vaccination are the best ways to prevent hepatitis A in at-risk individuals,” stated Sietske de Fijter, state epidemiologist and chief of the ODH Bureau of Infectious Diseases. “If you or someone you know has one or more risk factors for hepatitis A, call your local health department to see about getting vaccinated.”

ODH stated Ohio’s circumstances seem primarily to be amongst “people who use illegal drugs, those who have been incarcerated, people who have had contact with known cases, those also infected with hepatitis C, men who have sex with men, and people experiencing homelessness.”

Symptoms of hepatitis A embody fatigue, low urge for food, abdomen ache, nausea, clay-colored stools and jaundice. People with hepatitis A can expertise gentle sickness lasting a couple of weeks to a extreme sickness lasting a number of months.

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