Statewide cases of a hepatitis A community outbreak reported by the Ohio Department of Health has prompted Greene County Public Health to release more information about the viral illness, including how people can prevent it.
Five cases of hepatitis A have been reported in Greene County this year so far. In 2017, there was one case, and in 2016, there were five cases, according to Public Health.
Hepatitis A affects the liver. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice.
Symptoms appear two to six weeks after being exposed to the virus, according to Public Health.
Hepatitis A is typically spread from person-to-person through the fecal-oral route.
The virus is not spread by kissing, sneezing or saliva.
Hepatitis A is not caused by food, but a food worker infected by the virus and improperly handling food can spread it.
Anyone can contract hepatitis A, but homeless, drug users and men who save sex with men are at a greater risk, according to Public Health.
People 25 and older also have an increased risk because they are more likely to not be vaccinated for hepatitis A.
You can prevent hepatitis A by thoroughly washing your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds after using the bathroom and before preparing and eating food.
There is also a vaccine for hepatitis A. Contact your doctor, health center or pharmacy for more information on the vaccine.
For more information on hepatitis A, call Greene County Public Health at 937-374-5600 or visit www.odh.ohio.gov/hepa or www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/.
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