Hep A cases on the rise in Clark County and Ohio

Health News

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Clark County health officials are seeing an increase in hepatitis A cases.

The Clark County Combined Health District said Monday it is continuing to monitor the current statewide community outbreak of hepatitis A.

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 11, 2019, the Clark County Combined Health District (CCCHD) has investigated 40 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, 24 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.

Clark County Combined Health District’s Health Commissioner, Charles Patterson, said the number of patients being hospitalized from the disease this outbreak is alarming.

Of the 40 confirmed cases in Clark County, a majority of the patients are hospitalized and over 60% of Hepatitis A cases across Ohio are going to the hospital.

According to CCCHD, 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.”

You can learn more about hepatitis A here.

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