Hepatitis-A is on the rise in Ohio with the state’s Health Department reporting a notable increase this year, compared to last.
Outbreaks are also being reported in multiple states bordering Ohio– including Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan.
According to the Ohio Department of Health: 31 cases of Hepatitis-A were reported in the first quarter of the year.
This compared to four cases in 2017 and two the year in 2016. There were five in 2015.
Dan Suffoletto of Dayton and Montgomery County Public Health, says locally – the numbers are much lower.
“Last year there was one case of hepatitis-a here in Montgomery County,” Suffoletto. “So far through April, there’s two cases. They’re not confirmed yet but they’re preliminary. But that doesn’t mean they’re in any way linked to what’s going on in the country.”
Hepatitis-A affects the liver and can be passed from person to person through contact with an infected person’s feces.
“One of the main ways Hepatitis is transmitted is through eating food that has been contaminated with fecal matter,” Suffoletto said. “And oftentimes the contamination takes place during the food preparation process.”
Symptoms include jaundice – or yellow eyes and skin, feeling tired, fever, joint paint and nausea.
Suffoletto says washing your hands before eating or making food is one way to prevent the illness. But, there’s also a vaccine.
“People are recommended to get the vaccine when they’re young,” he said. “It’s part of your regular vaccine recommendations that your doctor would present to you. If you have not gotten the vaccine, it is available here at Public Health or through your healthcare provider.”