Hepatitis-A outbreak: Interpreting the numbers

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The latest numbers from the Ohio Department of Health show the total number of hepatitis-A cases continues to rise.

But local health officials say it’s not always easy to interpret the numbers on a week-to-week basis.

“We’re cautious when we look at that because the incubation period of hepatitis-A, which can be up to 50 days,” said public information supervisor at Dayton & Montgomery County Public Health Dan Suffoletto.

“So you have to go several months out before you can really see any trend in accurate numbers.”

As of February 25th, there are now 1,819 cases of hepatitis-A in Ohio. 

“Hepatitis-A can be deadly so we want to make sure people take the proper precautions,” Suffoletto said. “Anyone can come in contract with Hepatitis A because of the way it’s spread. Anything you touch may contain fecal matter and then if you ingest that – you could contract hepatitis-A.”

According to latest figures from the health department: 78 per cent of Ohio counties have confirmed cases. Seven people have died, including two in Clark County, since the outbreak started in January 2018.

Two of the hardest hit areas: 212 cases in Montgomery County and 279 in Butler County.

“The best way to protect yourself is by getting the hepatitis-A vaccine,” he said. “You also want to make sure your practicing proper hygiene by washing your hands thoroughly after using the restroom and before eating or preparing food.”

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