MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – The first death associated with Hepatitis A in the state of Ohio in 2018 was a Montgomery County resident.
Hepatitis A is a liver disease that is transmitted by coming into contact with contaminated fecal matter or personal contact with an already infected person.
Victims usually recover, but this death is causing Public Health of Dayton and Montgomery County to urge everyone the importance of prevention and vaccination.
Public Health did not release any details of the death, but they said they treat all Hepatitis A cases the same, and hope it shows the severity of this outbreak.
“It’s not that the sickest person is going to transmit this more than anyone else,” said Dr. Michael Dohn, Public Health’s medical director. “It’s the person that’s symptomatic that’s contacting a lot of other people, that’s the one that we need to watch for and get in if we can, and vaccinate the people that we know that person has come in contact with.”
In 2016, there were no reported cases in Montgomery County and last year just one.
Ohio still trails other neighboring states, but Public Health say there is still cause for concern, especially for at-risk populations like street drug-users, homeless and recently incarcerated individuals.
They said they are doing their part by already conducting 75 vaccination clinics at places like homeless shelters and jails.
“That total so far 1,752 vaccinations at those remote locations and then we’ve also done 394 here at the public health clinic,” said Public Health’s public information officer, Dan Suffoletto.
Dohn said from contracting the virus to showing symptoms could take anywhere from 15 to 50 days, and the best prevention is washing your hands and vaccination.
“There are two different goals that we might have,” said Dohn. :One is to get people fully vaccinated so they have lifelong protection, the other is to get the first dose of the vaccine into people so that we can interrupt the transmission.”