SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – The Clark County Combined Health District has confirmed two Clark County resident deaths related to hepatitis A.
The CCCHD said the cases have been thoroughly investigated and appropriate actions taken but additional details about the cases are not being released to protect the privacy of the families.
“The heartbreaking loss of these lives illustrates the seriousness of this outbreak, and we urge Clark County residents to practice good handwashing and to get vaccinated, especially if they fall into a high-risk population,” said Charles Patterson, Clark County Health Commissioner. “We are working with our local and state partners to slow the spread of hepatitis A, but this disease is highly contagious and can spread rapidly, so prevention is critical.”
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver disease that is spread when hands, food or objects contaminated with stool are put in the mouth. It can be spread by close contact with a person who is sick with hepatitis A, eating food prepared by a person with hepatitis A, or sex with a person with hepatitis A. Getting vaccinated and practicing proper handwashing is the best way to prevent hepatitis A.
CCCHD has been investigating cases, conducting outreach and providing vaccinations since a statewide outbreak was declared in 2018. To date, CCCHD has investigated 43 cases of hepatitis A.
Public Health also continues to provide vaccines in the community, focusing efforts on at-risk populations.
People at increased risk for hepatitis A include people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, people experiencing homelessness, people who have been recently incarcerated, and travelers to locations where hepatitis A is common.
The CCCHD says hepatitis A vaccines are available from healthcare providers, retail pharmacies and local health departments. Residents are encouraged to call ahead first to make sure a particular location has the vaccine on hand and to make an appointment when necessary. The vaccine is covered by most insurance plans.