Clark County Experiencing Increase in hepatitis A cases
Clark County, Ohio – The Clark County Combined Health District is continuing to monitor the current statewide community outbreak of hepatitis A.
The State of Ohio and Clark County are seeing a large increase in the number of hepatitis A cases. As of February 4, 2019, the state of Ohio has recorded 1,595 outbreak cases of hepatitis A across 67 counties in Ohio. As of February 5, 2019, the Clark County Combined Health District (CCCHD) has investigated 38 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, 23 of which are part of the current outbreak. Prior to 2018, the most recent confirmed case of hepatitis A in Clark County occurred in 2011.
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver disease that usually spreads when a person ingests fecal matter—even in small 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.
Symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, light-colored stools and jaundice. Most people who get hepatitis A feel sick for several months, but they usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. Sometimes hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death, although this is rare and occurs more commonly in people older than 50 and people with other liver diseases.
Who is at greater risk for hepatitis A?
- People who use street drugs whether they are injected or not
- People who are incarcerated
- People experiencing homelessness
- Men who have sex with men
- People with direct contact with individuals infected with the virus
- People who have traveled to other areas of the U.S. currently experiencing outbreaks
“The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is to get vaccinated,” said Charles Patterson, Health Commissioner. “Proper and frequent hand washing is also a key factor in controlling the spread of disease.”