Statewide Community Outbreak of Hepatitis A

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Auglaize County Health Department 419-738-3410                                     January 7, 2019

Statewide Community Outbreak of Hepatitis A

Outbreaks of hepatitis A virus infection are occurring nationwide, including Ohio.  In June 2018, the Ohio Department of Health declared a Statewide Community Outbreak of hepatitis A after observing an increase in cases linked to certain risk factors since the beginning of 2018.  The Auglaize County Health Department is reporting two confirmed cases of hepatitis A in its jurisdiction.

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, such as through sex.

“Good hand-washing and vaccination are the best ways to prevent hepatitis A in at-risk individuals,” said Oliver Fisher, Health Commissioner. “If you or someone you know has one or more risk factors for hepatitis A, call 419-738-3410 to see about getting vaccinated.”

People at increased risk for hepatitis A in Ohio’s Statewide Community Outbreak include those with direct contact with known cases, men who have sex with men, people who use street drugs whether they are injected or not, people who are incarcerated, and people experiencing homelessness.

The disease spreads easily from person to person and can range in mild illness lasting a few weeks to severe illness lasting several months. Illness generally occurs two to six weeks after exposure to the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, clay-colored stools and jaundice.

“People who believe that they are at high risk for hepatitis A infection, people who know that they have been exposed to someone with hepatitis A, or individuals who experience symptoms of hepatitis A should contact their healthcare provider,” said Oliver Fisher, Health Commissioner. “If there are any questions please contact us.”

Hepatitis A Outbreak Summary (January 7, 2019):

Number of cases: 1370
Illness onset range: 01/05/2018 – 12/29/2018
Age range: 2-81 years
Gender: 59% male
Number of hospitalizations: 856 (63%)
Number of deaths: 4
Number of counties with cases: 66 (75%)

For updated information please visit the ODH website at: https://odh.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odh/know-our-programs/Hepatitis-Surv...

The Auglaize County Health Department Infectious Disease program provides case management to the hepatitis A cases identified by interviewing people diagnosed with hepatitis A to identify other individuals who may have been in close contact with them. The individuals are assessed to determine whether they should receive post-exposure vaccination as a precaution so that they don’t get the hepatitis A virus and spread it to others.  The Auglaize County Health Department has communication with county partners and has enrolled as a Hepatitis A Outbreak Response Vaccine Provider.

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Date: 
Monday, January 7, 2019