ODH issues statewide community outbreak of hepatitis A

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Thirty one cases have been reported in Ohio.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Ohio Department of Health declared a statewide community outbreak of hepatitis A Friday evening, with 79 hepatitis A cases associated with the outbreak so far this year.

As of June 1, there were 11 cases of hepatitis A in Montgomery County. In 2017 there was one case, and none were reported in 2016, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County reported.

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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. Hepatitis A also can spread from close personal contact with an infected person, such as through sex, according to the ODH.

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.

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“Good hand-washing and vaccination are the best ways to prevent hepatitis A in at-risk individuals,” said 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 has provided more than 5,000 doses of hepatitis A vaccine to local health departments.

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Declaring a hepatitis A outbreak ensures ODH access to additional hepatitis A vaccine through the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ODH said.

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