Cherokee County now has one confirmed case of Hepatitis A, that, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health
The ADPH has reported 54 cases of the disease over the last fiscal year, compared to just 17 the previous year. Both DeKalb and Jackson County are listed as being under an “outbreak” status, with 19 cases and 26 cases respectively. Those counties reporting Hepatitis A at non-outbreak levels – defined by the Department of Public Health as “typically less than two cases” – in addition to Cherokee – include Etowah, Jefferson, Marshall, Shelby and Montgomery.
The demographics for the Alabama cases are white males with a median age of 40 – with a significant percentage being individuals who were incarcerated or involved in drug use and about half of those cases resulted in hospitalization. Hepatitis A is a liver disease transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food or water or through direct contact with an infected person. Most people fully recover however some develop serious conditions that can be fatal. People can also be exposed to the virus by food handlers at a restaurant or by unvaccinated individuals who fail to wash their hands.
The ADPH highly recommends that anyone who participates in high-risk behaviors receive the Hepatitis A vaccine, which offers full protection from the virus.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A – including fever, headache, fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain or nausea, vomiting, dark urine or jaundice – will typically appear from 15 to 50 days after the initial exposure.
To prevent exposure, people are advised to:
- Get vaccinated as soon as possible.
- Wash your hands frequently – before, during and after preparing food; after using the toilet; after changing diapers or cleaning up after a person who has used the toilet; after touching garbage; before eating food; and before and after caring for someone who is sick
- DO NOT share drug paraphernalia, cigarettes, food, drinks, eating utensils, towels or toothbrushes.
For more on this story visit http://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/
(Information provided in part by AL.COM/www.al.com)
Photo Credit: Cuyahoga County Board of Health.