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Hepatitis A Spreading outside Ohio Borders

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    Posted: June 26 2018 at 12:22pm

Ohio, neighboring states declare Hepatitis A outbreak

Tuesday, June 26th 2018

FLORENCE, Ky. (WKRC) – Numerous states are declaring community outbreaks of Hepatitis A, urging people to get the vaccination to in hopes of stopping the spread of disease.

This week, the Ohio Department of Health declared the outbreak after reporting 79 cases of Hepatitis A, which is double the amount of cases last year.

In Kentucky, the numbers are rising at an alarming rate. Already this year more than 830 cases have been reported. Typically, the Commonwealth sees about 20.

“Right now in this outbreak no point source has been identified, so no common one thing has been identified at this point. So we are still seeing spread from person to person,” said Zach Raney, the Epidemiology Manager of the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

The bulk of the numbers in Kentucky are coming from the Louisville area of Jefferson County.

“The most common risk factor we have identified is illicit drug use. So that can be any drug use, injection or non-injection. After that homelessness is also risk factor,” said Raney.

How do you avoid contracting the virus?

There are three key practices:

  1. Get the hepatitis A vaccination
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water
  3. Clean your bathroom surfaces well

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that spreads after a person has ingested fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts, from objects like food and drinks contaminated by the stool of an infected person. It can also be spread by personal contact of another person and through sex.

Symptoms included; a fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, dark urine, pale stool, feeling tired and jaundice. The symptoms will likely show a couple of weeks after being infected.

In Indiana, 139 cases have been reported, in Michigan it's 843 cases and in West Virginia 238 cases.

The vaccination is free with most insurances but states have free clinics for those who don’t have insurance.

“It’s actually a vaccine that requires two doses spread out over six months apart. Once you have that, the CDC says it will last you 20 years,” said Raney.

For clinic locations in the Tri-State, you can follow this link.


Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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