Hepatitis A: What You Need to Know

Patient Being Vaccinated

Did you know the Ohio Department of Health declared a statewide community outbreak of hepatitis A?

From January 5, 2018 through October 1, 2018 there has been 538 cases of hepatitis A throughout the state of Ohio. In Cuyahoga county there has been 9 cases of hepatitis A.

What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable highly contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness to a severe illness lasting months. Hepatitis A spreads when a person unknowingly ingests fecal matter (even in microscopic amounts) from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the stool of an infected person. Hepatitis A can also be spread through close personal contact with an infected person.

Who is at an increased risk of developing hepatitis A in this outbreak?

  • People with direct contact with someone who has hepatitis A
  • People who use street drugs; both injection and non-injection drugs
  • People who are incarcerated
  • People experiencing homelessness
  • People who have traveled to other areas of the United States currently experiencing outbreaks (Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and West Virginia)

What are the symptoms of hepatitis A?

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

Can hepatitis A be prevented?

Yes! The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination with the hepatitis A vaccine. Practice good hand hygiene by washing hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.

Contact your healthcare provider if…

  • You believe that you are at high risk for hepatitis A infection.
  • You know that you have been exposed to someone with hepatitis A.
  • You are experiencing symptoms of hepatitis A.

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