Ohio Department of Health issues statewide Hepatitis A outbreak

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The neighbouring states such as Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia and Kentucky are also now facing a massive Hepatitis A outbreak.

The Ohio Department of Health has declared a statewide community outbreak of hepatitis A. The number of cases reported in the state has nearly doubled from a year ago.

Over the last five years, Tennessee has seen an average of 13 cases per year, often associated with travel to countries where hepatitis A is common. Summit County had one, and none were reported in other neighboring counties.

Statewide, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has confirmed 248 total cases across 15 counties, with 176 of those cases in Kanawha County alone.

The hepatitis A cases in California, Utah, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia were found to be genetically similar, but the cases in MI were found to be different. Moreover, it can also spread among people if they come in personal contact with the infected person, such as via sex.

It usually spreads when a person ingests even microscopic amounts of fecal matter from contact with food or drinks contaminated by the stool of an infected person.

"Good hand-washing and vaccination are the best ways to prevent hepatitis A in at-risk individuals", said state epidemiologist Sietske de Fijter. There is a two-week window for those who might have been exposed to receive the hepatitis A vaccine.

The Cabell-Huntington Health Department is advising those with liver diseases such as hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis and other similar ailments consider receiving the vaccine, as the disease tends to affect these groups more severely.

The Ohio's Health Department has announced a state-wide Hepatitis A outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccination. Anyone who suspects that he or she may have hepatitis A must immediately go to a health care provider where they may be given a postexposure prophylaxis.

Fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, and nausea are just some of the symptoms related to hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that can last a few weeks to several months.

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