MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that can cause severe illness for months and it is on the rise in Montgomery County.
Ohio has declared an outbreak of Hepatitis A statewide, and in Montgomery County they have seen over 20 times the amount of Hepatitis A cases than last year, so they are urging everyone to be cautious and preventative.
As of Tuesday, June 3, there were 22 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A in Montgomery County as opposed to one in 2017 and none in 2016.
Compared to the rest of the state, Montgomery has the most confirmed cases in the 25 counties with cases so far this year.
This disease is usually spread by ingesting even microscopic amounts of fecal matter, often people do not wash hands after using restroom, touch food or surface, someone else ingests it and contracts Hepatitis A.
Symptoms usually appear in two to six weeks and include nausea, vomiting, and the tell-tale sign is jaundice or yellowing of the skin.
“Some of the people who are most at risk are those who are living homeless, people who are sharing needles, drug users, and men who have sex with men,” said Dan Suffoletto, Public Information Supervisor for Public Health Dayton – Montgomery County.
The vaccine has only been available since mid 1990s, so many older adults have not been vaccinated, and they are encouraging everyone at least 1 year old if they have not already to contact your health provider and get the vaccine.
Suffoletto said frequent and proper hand washing can also help control the spread.