Hepatitis A outbreak spreads in North Alabama

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The investigation into the hepatitis A outbreak continues in North Alabama, as multiple cases of hepatitis A are being reported in DeKalb County, where the Department of Public Health reports 8 cases of hepatitis A. 

Dr. Karen Landers is the District Medical Officer with the Department of Public Health. She said that number is subject to change.

“In both of these counties, the cases are linked to high risk groups and persons,” she said.

Less than two weeks ago, the Department of Public Health started an investigation in Jackson County following an outbreak. Health officials say the outbreak could continue into other surrounding counties.

Those highest at risk for hepatitis A include those who use illegal drugs, those who are homeless, the family and close contacts of anyone who has hepatitis A, as well as men with same sex partners.

Hepatitis A can spread to an uninfected person if they eat or drink after a person who is infected or come into contact with objects from an infected person.

Health officials emphasize practicing diligent hand washing to prevent becoming infected with hepatitis A.

“One of the things we want to emphasize is that while the Hep A virus can live on a countertop or hard surface, really with good hand washing and good surface cleaning on inanimate objects, that is a really low risk way to develop hepatitis A,” said Medical Officer Dr. Karen Landers.

Anyone who would like to prevent getting hepatitis A can be vaccinated.

After being exposed to someone sick with hepatitis A, symptoms may appear from 15 to 50 days later. Symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, dark urine or jaundice. Anyone who experiences any of these symptoms, after contact with an infected person or with someone who participates in the behaviors listed above, they should contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible.

For more information, click here, or contact the ADPH Immunization Division at (334) 206-5023 or toll free at 800-469-4599.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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